Doncaster hospitals achieve 500 days without potentially lethal ‘superbug’

Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) celebrated 500 days without a Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus blood stream infection (also known as MRSA bacteraemia), last week.

A particularly nasty bacterium, MRSA is resistant to several widely-used antibiotics, making it much harder to treat than common bacterial infections.

Staff celebrate achiement

Staff celebrate achiement

About one in three people carry MRSA on the surface of their skin and in their nose, without developing an infection.

However, if an MRSA bacterium gets into the body through a break in the skin it can cause infections such as boils abscesses or impetigo, with an infection in the bloodstream leading to serious conditions and complications.

Carol Scholey, Lead Nurse for IPC at the Trust, said: “For a number of years, it has been challenging to reach a ‘Zero Tolerance’ to MRSA bacteraemia, this being the longest period of time ever, and it has been one of the team’s numberone priorities.

“I am incredibly proud that we have managed to do just that for 500 days.

“Tackling infection is a daily challenge in any hospital and reaching this particular milestone is a testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone at the Trust. This achievement is not down to the efforts of any one individual, but every member of staff involved in patient care and treatment. Well done Team DBTH!”

The Trust’s Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Team have worked tirelessly throughout the past number of years with clinicians to ensure that the bug is kept in check.

This includes screening patients for the bacteria, isolating those with a positive result and immediately beginning what is known as a ‘decolonisation’ process in order to stop it spreading any further and causing harm.

Among other initiatives, the IPC team has led hand-washing campaigns within the Trust, ensuring all wards and services are compliant with hygiene and infection-control policies, as well as reviewing the use of any devices and treatment tools which can lead to an increased chance of developing MRSA. Above all else, the team have encouraged members of staff to be vigilant, looking out for symptoms of the bugs and acting upon any potential signs that could lead to further infection.

Dr Ken Agwuh, Director of Infection Prevention and Control at DBTH, said: “Ensuring our patients are safe while they are in our care is a top priority, and improving our infection control measures, in every regard, is a crucial step in this process. Our Infection Prevention and Control team have been very proactive and, alongside colleagues at the Trust, have shown a real commitment to ensuring our patients receive the highest quality of care, within a safe environment.

“Achieving 500 days without Trust attributed MRSA bacteraemia is a very positive achievement, however it is important that we do not become complacent and continue on this improvement journey to keep our hospitals free of bugs, bacteria and preventable infection.”

The Trust’s IPC team are also honing in on another achievement, with the organisation almost at 50 days without incidence of hospital-acquired Clostridium difficile (C.diff). A similarly unpleasant infection that can lead to serious bowel problems and diarrhoea.