Infection control: News round-up

A round-up of the latest advances in infection control and bug-busting activities in the NHS and private healthcare sector

Walsall trust infection free for 187 days

WALSALL Healthcare NHS Trust has reported it is winning the battle against MRSA with 187 infection-free days at Walsall Manor Hospital. Richard Kirby, the trust’s chief executive said: “Reducing healthcare-acquired infections is one of our top priorities here at the trust. It really is great news that we have reached 187 days without an MRSA bacteraemia at the Manor Hospital. This is down to the hard work and dedication of all staff at the trust and I would like to offer my thanks for this achievement so far this year.”

Recognition for sterile services team

MEMBERS of the sterile services department at Yeovil District Hospital have been recognised for their efforts over the past year. In the annual trust awards, the department was one of four teams and five individuals singled out for praise. The pat on the back came during a year in which the team has moved to a new unit. Yvonne Thorne, the head of nursing responsible for the department, which processes 45,000 surgical instrument trays and 65,000 packs every year, said: “The staff are dedicated to the service they provide and constantly work beyond their hours and alter their shifts and plans to accommodate changes in the patient pathways.” Hospital chief executive, Gavin Boyle, added: “There are many staff at the hospital who go far beyond the call of duty and we aim to recognise some of those people with outstanding achievers’ awards.”

Copper bedrails help fight infection

A NEW study has found that hospital bedrails made of copper remain cleaner and help fight infection longer than plastic models. Researchers found that plastic bedrails were recontaminated within minutes of being cleaned, while copper considerably lowered the amount of bacteria present. This backs up earlier evidence that appliances and fixtures and fittings made from copper have an antimicrobial effect. As part of the study, the researchers assessed the amount of bacteria on occupied beds of patients at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Medical Center. Both copper and plastic bedrails were tested before cleaning, 30 minutes after being cleaned, and at two-hour intervals thereafter.

Dr Michael Schmidt, professor and vice chairman of microbiology and immunology at MUSC and a study participant, said: “Initial sampling showed the bacterial burden on the copper bed rails was 10-fold lower than on the plastic from the outset, before either was even cleaned. This can be attributed to the antimicrobial nature of the copper.”

Bug-busting trunking

AN ANTI-MICROBIAL trunking solution used at a new GP surgery in Bromsgrove has been found to reduce the prevalence of harmful bacteria by more than 98%. Incorporating silver ion technology from BioCote, REHAU’s PROFILA data anti-microbial trunking was installed in all public areas, consulting rooms and treatment rooms at Churchfield GP Surgery. Over two months levels of bacteria including E-coli, Salmonella, Listeria and MRSA were measured and compared to those taken from the surgery’s original site nearby. At the new building, a bacterial colony count of three was recorded on the cable trunking, compared with 228 in the old building, constituting an overall reduction of 98.69%.

C.diff outbreak in Staffordshire

VISITING is being curtailed and a ward closed for deep cleaning following an outbreak of C.difficile at Queen's Hospital in Staffordshire. Dawn Leese, chief nurse, explained: “During the last few days we have experienced an outbreak on the site and have taken swift action to contain this. It has been necessary to introduce some restrictions and to reinforce our normal guidelines around visiting.” As well as closing one ward, the hospital is also restricting visiting to no more than two visitors at a time.

ALSO IN THE NEWS:

A new antibacterial pen has been launched, aimed at reducing the risk of contamination in healthcare settings. Made from specially-treated plastic, the Antibac pen has been found to kill 99.9% of harmful bacteria and viruses, including E.coli, norovirus, MRSA and C.difficile

GV Health has launched a new range of environmental disinfectant products. SoChlor was created up in response to the publication of the National Cleaning Manual, which recommends the use of chlorine-based disinfectant products at suitable strength. The range enables exact measures to be confirmed…

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