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NHS: Infectious Diseases

Volume 476: debated on Wednesday 21 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recommendations (a) his Department and (b) the National Patient Safety Agency has made to the NHS on hand infection control against the spread of norovirus. (206346)

The Department advice is to follow existing professional guidance1,2 which advocates enhanced handwashing.

The National Patient Safety Agency has ongoing communications with the national health service about hand infection control via the cleanyourhands campaign. The campaign implementation guidance and materials advocate using soap and water in situations where vomiting and diarrhoea are prevalent, for example norovirus and Clostridium difficile cases, or when hands are visibly soiled.


1 The Journal of Hospital Infection—epic2: National Evidence-Based Guidelines for Preventing Healthcare-Associated Infections in NHS Hospitals in England.

2 Preventing person-to-person spread following gastrointestinal infections: guidelines for public health physicians and environmental health officers Prepared by a Working Group of the former PHLS Advisory Committee on Gastrointestinal Infections Communicable Disease and Public Health 2004; 7 (4): 362. 4_04.pdf

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions his Department has had with foreign counterparts on methods for tackling MRSA. (206354)

Our strategy on healthcare associated infection “Clean, safe care” is based on the best available evidence from both the United Kingdom and elsewhere. To achieve this departmental officials have regular contact with experts both here and abroad. For example Professor Duerden, the Inspector of Microbiology and Infection Control was one of several UK and European experts speaking about the control of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus at the Society of General Microbiology international conference in April 2008.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many products were recommended to his Department by the Rapid Review Panel for (a) development for use in the NHS and (b) for trial in an NHS clinical setting in the last year for which information is available. (206358)

The Rapid Review Panel (RRP) has reviewed 37 products in three meetings since May 2007.

Four products have demonstrated sufficient basic research and development, validation and recent in-use evaluations to enable the RRP to make a recommendation to the Department that the product should be made available to national health service bodies. This is a recommendation one.

Four products have been awarded a recommendation two stating that basic research and development has been completed and the product may have potential value; in use evaluations/trials are now needed in an NHS clinical setting. However, it is not within the remit of the RRP to clinically evaluate or undertake the evaluation of products within the NHS.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health under what circumstances a product or treatment may bypass a Rapid Review Panel assessment; and which (a) products and (b) treatments did so in each of the last three years for which information is available. (206359)

The Rapid Review Panel (RRP) was convened by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) at the request of the Department. The RRP's role, as defined by the HPA and the Department, is

'to provide a prompt assessment of new and novel equipment, materials and other products or protocols that may be of value to the national health service in improving hospital infection control and reducing hospital acquired infections'.

Products do not bypass the RRP although some may fall outside the remit of the RRP.