Tuesday, November 25, 2008

90% of British hospitals are failing the superbug test despite the Government's hygiene code

Nine in ten hospitals are failing to comply with rules designed to control the spread of superbugs, a watchdog reports today. Spotchecks at 51 NHS trusts by the Healthcare Commission found only five had fully implemented the Government's hygiene code. Mattresses and surgical implements were not decontaminated properly, and some wards were so cluttered it was impossible to clean properly. On top of that, some hospitals were not able to isolate infected patients to stop bugs spreading.

In today's report, the commission says it was forced to intervene in three trusts where standards were so low that patients could have been put at risk. The three, Bromley, South-East London, Ipswich, and Ashford and St Peter's in Surrey, are all said to have taken action to remedy the problems.

Overall, inspectors said trusts were improving their performance on tackling superbugs and official figures show that rates of MRSA and C.diff in hospitals have started to come down. MRSA kills almost 2,000 hospital patients a year.

Commission chief Anna Walker said the hygiene lapses were 'important warning signs'. Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb said: 'It is very disturbing that adequate systems are still not in place in very many of our acute hospitals.'


Australia: Red tape in government hospital denies dying boy a chance

Power-mad bureaucrats again

A SIX-year-old boy with only half a heart is dying as red tape prevents Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital surgeons giving him an operation and a chance to save his life. As well as hypoplastic left heart syndrome, Nathan Garcia suffers from scoliosis - a condition that has deformed his spine and now places so much pressure on his arteries and lungs he is unable to undergo life-saving surgery to re-rout his half a heart before it stops beating.

Royal Children's orthopaedic surgeons had planned to place a new type of metal rod in Nathan's back to ease his scoliosis, improve his heart and lung function, and hopefully make him healthy enough to undergo the heart surgery. However, the hospital's New Technologies Committee has refused permission for the operation. It says processes have not yet allowed it to evaluate and approve the French-designed Phenix Rod for safe use, and instead Nathan has been placed in palliative care.

Nathan's distraught mother, Monique Garcia, said her son would be dead or too crippled for the operation before the red tape cleared, and was appealing for the decision to be reversed for a one-off operation. "They say it might be OK to use in a few months, but I'm terrified he'll be dead in two months," Ms Garcia said. "Normally I would accept the process of approval, and it is warranted, but it doesn't have a place in this situation - he is going to die anyway. "We have a surgeon who is wanting and trying to save his patient's life, but on the other side we have red tape, and I don't think anything should get in between a doctor and the welfare of their patient. He will die if he does not have this operation - and soon."

Royal Children's orthopaedic surgeon Dr Ian Torode and director of cardiac surgery Dr Christian Brizard met the Phenix Rod's inventor, Arnaud Soubeiran, in Paris last month to discuss Nathan's case.

Royal Children's spokeswoman Julie Webber said the committee was examining the use of the Phenix Rod and a decision about its suitability as a treatment for Nathan would be made in his best interests. "The decision will be made around what is in the best interests of the child," she said. [Dying is in his best interests?]


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