Survey reveals risks to patients

November 15, 2006 1:35 PM
Claire Rayner

Claire Raynor is President of the Patients Association

Last week, local MP Mark Hunter attended a reception at Parliament held by the Patients Association to launch their latest report in to infection control. The event was attended by infection control specialists, MPs and department of Health officials.

The survey - conducted by the Patients Association - asked 500 NHS staff, which included Directors of nursing and infection control nurses and microbiologists, to complete a series of questions related to their Trust's infection control practices. The results from the 169 respondents reveal a picture of confusion and concern among health professionals that infection control practices in the NHS are endangering patients' lives.

The key findings of the report include:

1. Nearly half said that NOT ALL RELEVANT STAFF WERE ADEQUATELY TRAINED in infection control practices.

2. 47% said that there was NO DEDICATED "RING FENCED" BUDGET FOR INFECTION CONTROL teams in their trust.

3. Only 35% of those who responded said that the effectiveness of antiseptic used to kill bacteria on the skin was continually assessed. 7% OF RESPONDENTS NEVER ASSESSED BEST PRACTICE*

4. 93% of respondents HAVE TO SPEND CLINICAL TIME REASSURING PATIENTS worried about catching healthcare-associated infections.

Following the launch, Claire Raynor, President of the Patients Association said, "While we acknowledge that the NHS has come a long way in recent years in protecting patients from healthcare associated infections, it is clear from this report that there is still some way to go.

"The fact that so many respondents stated openly that training of staff was inadequate and that many clinicians simply do not assess the effectiveness of their practice often enough, gives us significant cause for concern" she said.

Mark Hunter MP added, "My fear is that the pressures on NHS could easily lead to further slips in the standard of infection control in hospitals across the country."

"The recent publication of the Department for Health's latest code of practice on infection control should be food for thought for the government and the NHS as a whole."

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