Nursing staff at a hospital trust in Yorkshire are celebrating being a year free of the superbug MRSA for the first time.
On 29 October, Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust celebrated 365 days without a MRSA blood stream infection.
“Ensuring we keep MRSA out of our hospitals has been a number one priority for the team”
Carol Scholey, lead nurse for infection prevention and control team at the trust, said: “Ensuring we keep MRSA out of our hospitals has been a number one priority for the team and I am incredibly proud of this achievement.
“Tackling infection is a daily challenge in any hospital and reaching this particular milestone is a testament to the dedication and enthusiasm with which our staff approach patient care and treatment,” she added.
Among other initiatives, the infection prevention and control team has led hand-washing campaigns throughout the trust and has ensured all wards and services are compliant with hygiene and infection-control policies.
In addition, the team has spent time reviewing the use of devices and treatment tools which can lead to an increased chance of developing MRSA.
Nursing staff and other health professionals have also been encouraged by the team to be vigilant, look out for symptoms and act upon any potential signs that could lead to further infection.
Dr Ken Agwuh, the trust’s director of infection prevention and control, 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,” he said.
“Going an entire year without MRSA 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,” Dr Agwuh added.
The trust provides a range of health services across three hospitals including Bassetlaw Hospital in Worksop, Doncaster Royal Infirmary, and Montagu Hospital, Mexborough and to community locations including Retford Hospital and Chequer Road Clinic.
“Going an entire year without MRSA is a very positive achievement”
It has described 2018 as a “particularly successful” year for Iinfection and prevention and control at the trust, where all three hospital sites have seen a reduction in overall infection, with health care associated infection rates at a low of 5%, outperforming the national average of 6.6%.
In addition, over 3,800 members of staff have been given the influenza vaccination in just 21 days. The trust said it believed it was among the fastest performing NHS providers in the entire country on flu immunisation.
The trust will now be hoping to make it to the end of March without an MRSA case, so that it can report zero cases for the 2018-19 financial year in its board papers.
Previously, it had two cases in 2017-18, three in 2016-17 and two in both 2015-16 and 2014-15. It was during 2011-12 that the trust saw a high of five cases of MRSA.