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Poor Hand Hygiene Causing More Cases of MRSA

MRSA compensation claims


Chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson has criticised doctors and nurses for failing to wash their hands properly, leading to more cases of MRSA.

In his Annual Report, published on 17 July 2007, Sir Liam said that hand hygiene has a significant effect on rates of healthcare-acquired infection. Even a small improvement in hygiene can have a big impact on the transmission of infection.

The report found that in the average hospital trust, the rate of compliance with proper hand-cleaning practice is only 40 per cent. In some trusts, it is as low as 10 per cent. Sir Liam described these rates as unacceptably low.

The report found that in 2006, 8 per cent of adult patients at any one time suffered from a healthcare-associated infection. The National Audit Office estimated that 5,000 patients per year may die as a result. This equates to the infection of a patient every two minutes, and a death every two hours.

Sarah Rowland, a solicitor at Irwin Mitchell who specialises in MRSA cases said "It is very concerning that basic hand hygiene practice is still not being followed in so many UK hospitals. It is clear that this has a significant effect on MRSA rates, which are still among the worst in Europe."

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