- LONDON (AFP) - As many as
5,000 people a year are dying from infections they catch while in hospital
in Britain, according to an official report released Thursday.
- Inadequate hand-washing -- especially by doctors -- and
unsanitary conditions were cited among the causes of the infections in
the report by the National Audit Office (NAO).
- The report, based on a study of 219 acute-care hospitals,
said stricter hygiene controls and better procedures for managing the spread
of infection could reduce the rate of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs)
by 15 percent.
- Treating HAIs costs the National Health Service about
one billion pounds (1.6 billion dollars) a year in England, the report
- A further 15,000 deaths could be partly attributable
to HAIs, according to some estimates.
- David Davis, chairman of Parliament's Committee of Public
Accounts, said: "Of course, some level of infection is inevitable
but there are simple things that some hospitals do not get right. There
is no excuse for poor hand-washing practice where doctors seem to be the
worst culprits. More generally, at too many hospitals the problem is not
taken seriously enough."
- More than 100,000 people a year are being infected by
potentially fatal bugs they pick up while being treated in hospital, the
NAO study found.
- Increasing resistance to antibiotics by "superbugs"
is part of the problem, but some hospitals are not doing enough to prevent
infections, experts said.
- At any one time, nine percent of patients are suffering
from an HAI, which can add to the length of stay and affect treatment of
their original condition.
- The most common bugs are urinary tract infections, which
often follow invasive surgery.
- Potentially deadly bacteria may also infect surgical
wounds, skin and the bloodstream.
- Strains of the superbug Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus
aureushave become more virulent and easier to catch, with outbreaks increasingly
frequent in Britain's hospitals as a result of over-reliance on antibiotics.
- The baterium is harmless unless it enters the body through
a surgical wound, where it can cause blood poisoning and pneumonia.
- The NAO report criticized hospitals for failing to allocate
funds to protect against infection, saying that death rates can be up to
three times higher where such spending is inadequate.
- Costs of treating HAIs far outweigh expenditure on preventing
them, the report said, citing the Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Hospital Trust
in London where two extra nurses were hired to concentrate on infection
control, resulting in savings of one million pounds (1.6 million dollars)
- One-fifth of NHS Trusts do not have an infection control
programme and only 40 percent have a designated budget for HAIs, the report
said, stressing that control measures vary widely from one hospital to
- Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, made
29 recommendations for reducing infection, including improving control
programmes and staffing levels.
- SIGHTINGS HOMEPAGE
Site Served by TheHostPros