Clostridium difficile among the over 65s in Scotland and cases of MRSA are at the lowest level since recording began, according to the latest figures.
Statistics released today by Health Protection Scotland show that efforts to reduce the level of healthcare associated infections are continuing to produce results.
From January to March 2012 there were:
• 48 MRSA cases – down 30.4 per cent (from 69) when compared with the same quarter last year, and a reduction of four per cent (from 50) on the previous quarter
• 334 C. diff cases in over 65s – down 6.2 per cent (from 356) when compared year-on-year and down 2.9 per cent (from 344) on the previous quarter.
• 380 cases of SAB infections overall (MRSA and MSSA combined) – a decrease of 10.4 per cent (from 424) when compared with the previous year, and down 6.9 per cent (from 408) on the previous quarter
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:
“Tackling Healthcare Associated Infections (HAI) has long been one of my key priorities and these figures highlight how effective the efforts of NHS staff to drive down infection rates have been with both MRSA and C. diff cases at their lowest ever level.
“Over the past three years we have invested over £50 million to help reduce HAIs, and these figures are further confirmation that the initiatives we have put in place – coupled with the efforts of health boards and hospital staff and the scrutiny of the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate – are making a difference.
“It’s vital that patients have confidence in the quality of care and treatment they will receive if they need to go into hospital and this confidence should not be undermined by the fear of contracting an infection.
“While we have made significant progress in this area, there is always more to be done, and staff, patients and visitors all have a role to play in making sure good standards of cleanliness and hand hygiene are maintained as we continue our drive to reduce these infections.”
Among the initiatives which have been introduced to tackle healthcare associated infections are:
• independent, unannounced inspections from the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate
• public reporting of hospital by hospital performance on key indicators such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile, hand hygiene and cleaning with a single website to give access to national and local information
• tripling funding to tackle Healthcare Associated Infections – to over £50 million over three years – to support a new and more comprehensive HAI Delivery Plan
• providing hundreds of additional cleaning staff across NHS Scotland funded by an extra £5 million a year
• introducing a new staff uniform and dress code
• zero tolerance approach to non compliance with hand hygiene policies across the NHS.