Kettering General Hospital is celebrating being free of MRSA bloodstream infections for four years.
The hospital is reporting that not one patient has contracted the most serious kind of MRSA infection whichaffects the bloodstream – known as bacteraemia - while being treated at the hospital since May 2015.
It says this is a significant achievement because hospitals are higher risk environments for blood stream MRSA infections because of the large amount of surgery undertaken and the use of devices like catheters and intravenous drips.
Kettering General Hospital’s director of infection prevention and control, Dr Manjula Natarajan, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be able to declare that the hospital has been free of MRSA blood stream infections for four years.
“I want to thank all of our clinical, housekeeping and infection prevention and control teams for the work they do on a daily basis which has made this possible.
“We are humbly proud of this achievement but also very much recognise the challenge we have in sustaining this at a time when the hospital is very busy and we have a continuing growth in the age of our local population.
“I would also like to thank members of the public who remember to wash their hands before and after entering the hospital’s clinical areas as this all contributes to making KGH a safer place.”
Lead nurse for infection prevention and control Jennie Lovell said the result is ‘born from the many preventative practices at the hospital'.
She said: “These include providing anti-microbial body wash for all admitted patients, using hand sanitiser and swabbing patients who we deem at risk of carrying the organism – all of this helps to reduce the risk of infection.
“Our housekeeping teams do a great job of keeping the hospital clean and tidy and patients and visitors can all help by washing their hands regularly while in hospital.
“This achievement is a combination of everyone doing the right things, every day, and I am so proud that we can say KGH has achieved four years free, as a trust.
“But also there are achievements within this. Some of our individual wards can boast of being free for much longer – one medical ward has been free for 12 years.
“I want to thank everyone for their continued support in infection prevention and control – it is a journey that never ends for us.”
MRSA (meticillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is part of Staphylococcus aureus family of bacteria and is a very common cause of bacterial infections such as boils, carbuncles, infected wounds, deep abscesses and bloodstream infection (or bacteraemia).
These kinds of bacteria were first identified in the 1880s when doctors realised they were the most common cause of infected surgical wounds.
When penicillin was introduced in the 1940s, it helped tackle these infections, but after a while some strains of the bacteria began to become resistant to the antibiotic and by 1959, about 90 to 95 per cent of S.aureus strains isolated from patients with clinical infections were resistant to penicillin.
Meticillin (and, later, cloxacillin and flucloxacillin) were therefore developed, from penicillin, to treat these new strains with some success – however, resistance developed during the 1960s to 1980s and in the 1990s there were some significant outbreaks of MRSA across the country.
Since then keeping MRSA bacteraemia cases to a minimum has been a recognised NHS priority and is focused on by all hospitals.