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Call for early hospital discharge to avoid swine flu MRSA risk


A rise in hospital infections may accompany a second wave of swine flu, according to the MRSA Working Group.

Together with National Concern for Healthcare Infection and the Patients Association, it is calling for the early discharge of patients from hospital in a bid to avoid the possibility.

It warns that a swine-flu pandemic would see a rise in hospital admission and bed occupancy rates, thus leading to conditions under which superbug infections would flourish.

The group has written to all NHS hospital staff, reminding them to review their policy for the early discharge of MRSA patients.

It also urges hospitals not to let increasing pressure on staff and rising bed occupancy rates during winter reverse the good work they have done to date to reduce MRSA rates.

Says Dr Matthew Dryden, consultant microbiologist at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital and General Secretary of the British Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy: “A way to get around this is to support patients with infections to get out of hospital earlier, together with outpatient and home care and good antibiotic stewardship.”


Readers' comments (2)

  • During a flu pandemic and most likely every winter I am sure that every chief executive up and down the land has already thought of discharging patients at the earliest opportunity. Therefore interference from groups such the MRSA Working Group is unnecessary and ill founded. During a pandemic acute beds will be of a "premium" so I suspect not many patients will be permitted to spend months lounging around acute respiratory wards. My assumption would be that rather than worrying about MRSA colonisation, that in itself is harmless, groups should be more concerned that with rising cases of pneumonia leading to an increase in antibiotic usage the rate of C.diff infection may escalate.

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  • no need for further initiatives to get patients out of hospital at the earliest-no managements are already on the case at any time of year.
    It's called meeting targets-get um and get um out -the numbers are so impressive -targets met.Yet many of the get um outs are soon readmitted and contribute to the get um in numbers-aren't we doing well.
    For goodness sake let the doctors and nurses decide, in the patients best interests,the best time to discharge,after all we know our patients the best.

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