One million patients will be tested for MRSA under a one-year pilot scheme in Scotland, announced last week, despite recent question marks over the efficacy of screening.
Hospitals in Ayrshire and Arran, Grampian and the Western Isles will take part in the Scottish Government programme, which starts this month. All emergency and elective patients will be given nasal swabs on admission to test for MRSA. Those with the infection will be given disinfectant wash or antibiotic ointment.
If it proves to be practical, the scheme will be rolled out across Scotland by April 2010. Health minister Nicola Sturgeon said: ‘The pilots will be an exhaustive test and will ensure that any necessary adjustments can be made before the programme is rolled out across Scotland.’
As announced in October, MRSA screening is being introduced in England for all elective patients this year and for all emergencies as soon as practicable within the next three years.
However, Swiss research published last month questioned whether universal MRSA screening for inpatients would have a significant impact on infection rates.