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RCN responds to Branson's calls to screen nurses for MRSA

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Screening nurses for MRSA is only one piece of infection control ‘jigsaw’, says the RCN in reponse to comments from Richard Branson.

Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson recently accused politicians and hospital managers of ‘tinkering’ with the problem of healthcare-associated infections but not doing enough to solve it.

Speaking in his role as vice-president of the Patients Association, Mr Branson told the BBC more action was needed to deal with the spread of infection, including screening. He called for all NHS staff to be checked for MRSA and those who were carriers of the infection should be treated before they dealt with patients again.

But RCN general secretary Peter Carter said: ‘Whilst we welcome this debate and accept screening of staff in certain clinical circumstances is of benefit, we feel it is important to note that this is only one part of a large jigsaw.

‘It is measures such as hand hygiene, correct cleaning of equipment and the environment, good antibiotic controls and staff education that need to be enhanced to give the greatest impact,’ he said.

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