Agency Staff Blamed For MRSA At Nottingham Hospital

Presence Of ‘Superbug’ At Queen’s Medical Centre Caused By Temporary Staff Unfamiliar With Procedures


Andrew Robinson, Press Officer | 0113 218 6463
A case of MRSA, a highly resistant bacterial infection, at Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre has been blamed on a reliance on agency staff, it was revealed earlier this week.

The infection, discovered in one of the hospital’s wards in December last year, was found in a patient suffering with swollen legs, back pain and heart failure. They had been on the ward for one month.

Hospital chiefs blamed agency staff who were “less familiar with ward procedures” for the issue, as well as poor documentation of the patient’s treatment. The temporary staff were standing in while the hospital’s trust, Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH), recruited for more than 200 roles.

Dr Stephen Fowlie, medical director at NUH, said the infection was likely caused by many factors. These included: “The patient’s underlying diagnoses and poor documentation of their treatment, omission of two doses of treatment for colonisation, poor documentation of IV cannula insertion and use of agency staff who were less familiar with ward procedures.”

“It is not always possible to completely isolate confused, elderly patients, and this was a potential source of MRSA cross infection on the ward at this time,” he said.

“There have been no further cases of MRSA bacteraemia at NUH since this case. This is the second preventable case since April 2014.”

Expert Opinion
We understand how stretched the NHS is and the need to fill vacancies with temporary staff, however it is important appropriate training is provided to agency staff to ensure they follow the procedures in place to prevent incidents like this. Patient care should always be a top priority, which means ensuring all staff have the training required to prevent MRSA infections

“It is welcome no further cases of MRSA have been identified at the Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) Trust, but it is vital a thorough review of procedures is conducted and training measures for temporary staff are improved to prevent incidents like this in the future.”
Tom Mather, Partner