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Finding a solution to hospital associated infections

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.a175 (Published 29 May 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:1210
  1. Henry Creagh
  1. 1London

    Could reducing the use of antibiotics be a key factor in tackling MRSA? Henry Creagh reports

    As the largest ever inspection programme of NHS acute hospital trusts gets under way, the problem of healthcare associated infections has never had a higher profile—nor been more hotly debated.

    In April the Healthcare Commission announced an inspection, ordered by the health secretary, Alan Johnson, of all of England’s 172 acute trusts. The commission’s brief is not only to save lives but to increase the confidence of the public in the health service.

    Questions about the practicality of screening patients for infections and the effectiveness of deep cleaning wards are now at the top of the agenda for health trusts, together with how to implement robust handwashing policies and to control prescribing of antibiotics.

    Although it is widely agreed that the problem has no quick fix, some doctors believe that there are simple steps that can be taken to reduce dramatically the incidence of healthcare associated infections, particularly Clostridium difficile.

    Speaking at a seminar in London last week organised by the Westminster Health Forum, David Jenkins, who leads on infection control at …

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