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Killer Superbugs Soar In Hospitals


Sky News - UK


Killer superbugs are now out of control with 5,000 people a year dying from viruses picked up in hospitals says a damning report.


Health chiefs have been slammed for allowing patients to be treated in filthy hospitals where the number of patients contracting infections is soaring.


The numbers of blood infections from Staphylococcus aureus has gone up almost 8 percent  from 17,933 in 2001-02 to 19,311 in 2003-04 - of these 40 percent were a strain of the deadly MRSA.


Britain has the highest infection rate in Europe for MRSA which is resistant to most antibiotics.


The report says our hospitals are dirtier than those in countries such as Romania.


Staff are still not washing their hands properly says the report but this is not because they are lazy.


Nurses and other staff are so overworked they don't have time to use the bathroom.


No-one knows how many people have died from MRSA but the bug was mentioned in 800 death certificates in 2002.


Hospital overcrowding and the fast turnover of patients is highlighted by the report as one of the causes of the increase in bugs.


The National Audit Office produced a league table of best and worst hospitals for controlling infections.


London fared the worst and year-on-year increases were recorded in the south east, north west and west Midlands.


Sir John Bourne, auditor general of the NAO said the government had made important progress in highlighting the problem.


But he added: "However, I am concerned that, four years on from my original report, the NHS still does not have a proper grasp of the extent and cost of hospital-acquired infection in trusts."


Health Secretary John Reid has already announced that ridding hospitals of bugs and higher standards of hygiene must be the NHS's top priority.


During Prime Minister's Questions, Tony Blair said he recognized the seriousness of the problem which he said also existed in hospitals in other countries.


But he said: "As we are trying to treat more people, that puts pressure on the system. We are taking action but it's not going to be made better by extending waiting lists. We must remember that the NHS treats a million people every 36 hours and the majority get treated excellently."


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