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Hospitals: Infectious Diseases

Volume 464: debated on Friday 19 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance his Department has issued to hospital trusts on the management and eradication of hospital-acquired infections. (159665)

Reducing health care associated infections (HCAIs), including meticillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile is a priority for the Department.

Extensive guidance has been issued over the years and is summarised in the reference section of The Health Act 2006, “Code of Practice for the Prevention and Control of Health Care Associated Infections”. A copy has been placed in the Library and is also available at:

www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_4139336

In addition, recent guidance includes the following:

“Saving Lives: reducing infection, delivering clean and safe care” (updated in June 2007) provides tools to help achieve effective prevention and control of HCAI. This includes high impact intervention care bundles on the use of various catheters, a care bundle for ventilated patients; and best practice documents on prevention of surgical site infection; taking blood cultures; screening for MRSA colonisation, C. difficle and antimicrobial prescribing. This report is available in the Library and also at:

www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_078134

“Isolating patients with health care associated infection” which will help ensure safe placement management and care of patients with infections. This report has been placed in the Library and is available at:

www.clean-safe-care.nhs.uk/cms/ArticleFiles/mmn4zs453tvojo45jrxa1kui25082005104027/Files/IsolationGuidance__07.pdf

“Epic 2: National Evidence-based Guidelines for Preventing Healthcare—Associated Infections in NHS Hospitals in England”, published in February 2007, provides the evidence base for many elements of clinical practice which are essential for prevention and control of health care associated infections and which can be adapted for use locally. This report has been placed in the Library and is also available at:

www.epic.tvu.ac.uk/PDF%20Files/epic2/epic2-final.pdf

A professional letter on health care associated infections including particularly infection caused by Clostridium difficile was issued to all chief executives of NHS acute trusts, primary care trusts and strategic health authorities on 7 December 2006. This letter set out the policies and clinical practices needed to control Clostridium difficile and also included very simple operational guidance for managers. A copy has been placed in the Library and is also available at:

www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Lettersandcirculars/Dearcolleagueletters/DH_063090

This followed up the joint professional letter from the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Nursing Officer issued in December 2005 reminding them of the importance of this infection and listed the key actions to control Clostridium difficile and highlighted the guidance available. The letter has been placed in the Library and is available at:

www.dh.gov.uk/PublicationsAndStatistics/LettersAndCirculars/ProfessionalLetters/ChiefMedicalOfficerLetters/ChiefMedicalOfficerLettersArticle/fs/en?CONTENT_ID=4125069&chk=cuQ7C%2B