Hospital Infection Numbers 'Still Too High'

Doctors And Nurses Must Do More To Stop Infections From Spreading, According To Nice

17.04.2014

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

Doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals need to do more to bring down the number of infections seen on the NHS.

A new report from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) has found that 300,000 patients per year get an infection while being treated on the NHS.

Common infections include pneumonia and lower respiratory tract problems, which make up 22.8 per cent of those seen annually, urinary tract infections (17.2 per cent) and surgical site infections (15.7 per cent).

Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director of health and social care at Nice, said: "It is unacceptable that infection rates are still so high within the NHS. Infections are a costly and avoidable burden. They hinder a patient's recovery, can make underlying conditions worse, and reduce quality of life."

Overall, the Nice study revealed that one in 16 patients treated on the NHS picks up an infection, consuming more NHS resources and putting other people at risk of developing potentially serious health problems.

But while some infections are unavoidable, Nice has urged doctors and nurses to double down on their hygiene efforts in order to eliminate accidents where people develop severe complications.

One of the areas highlighted for improvement is the removal of catheters, which are a common cause of infection due to a lack of basic hand washing and sterilisation.

Professor Leng said that while there have been substantial improvements to the prevention of superbugs like MRSA in recent years, too many errors are taking place, putting patients at risk.

In order to combat this problem, Nice has come up with a new quality standard that will urge doctors and nurses to be more careful about hygiene.

Carol Pellowe, senior lecturer at Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust and member of the committee which developed the standards, said: "This quality standard will promote best practice in infection prevention and control and by providing key areas for action, encourage organisations to sustain their efforts in ensuring patient safety."

Expert Opinion
Many patients in our hospitals will be extremely vulnerable to further infections so it is crucial that more is done to improve safety standards and ensure that the risks are minimised.

“Some of the areas for improvement identified are basic hand-washing and sterilisation which should be an obvious requirement for doctors and nurses to adhere to.

“We welcome the new quality standard and hope that it leads to a reduction in the number of people suffering hospital acquired infections.”
Mandy Luckman, Partner