We take infection prevention and control very seriously and carry out a MRSA risk assessment on all patients coming into the hospital for a planned operation.
Those identified as being at higher risk of carrying MRSA will be screened. All our emergency patients are screened for MRSA on admission.
Infections such as MRSA can prolong a patient's stay and cause
considerable distress to them and their families. Hospital
infections can also have an impact on waiting times for other
patients, can reduce the availability of NHS resources and cause
sickness and absence in staff.
Not all hospital infection is avoidable but a lot of infection
can be prevented. We are committed to reducing the risk of
acquiring a hospital infection for patients, public and staff.
Hospital acquired infections and cleanliness are key concerns for
patients and the public and are, therefore, priorities for us.
With thousands of patients and visitors coming through our doors
each year, maintaining a clean and safe environment is a challenge,
but despite this our staff have made big efforts to improve
cleanliness and compliance with infection prevention and control
measures. Read our latest annual report to
find out more.
Our infection prevention and control team coordinates efforts to
reduce infection by focusing on hand hygiene, ward cleanliness,
better detection and tracking of hospital-acquired infections,
improved use of antibiotics and staff and patient education. Our
matron for infection prevention and control provides the team with
additional expertise and support in tackling the spread of
infection. But controlling hospital infections effectively requires
the support and co-operation every person who enters our
How can you help?
MRSA and other hospital infections are usually passed on by
human contact, often from the skin of the hands, which is why
washing and cleaning hands is so vital reducing infection rates.
Hand sanitiser dispensers are placed beside every bed.
Everyone can help combat infections by following these simple
hand hygiene steps:
- Always wash hands or use the hand sanitizer before/on
entering and when leaving clinical areas (such as wards)
- Always wash your hands after using the toilet, or before and
after preparing food
- If you are a patient, try to limit the number of visitors you
have at any one time. The more people on our wards, the more the
chance of infection spreading
- If you are concerned that staff are not cleaning their hands or
adhering to infection control procedures, please remind them as
they may have forgotten
- If soap or hand towels are not available, or if the bathroom
and toilet facilities are not clean, please tell a member of
- If you are prescribed antibiotics, make sure you finish the
full course, even if you feel better part way through, as otherwise
not all the bacteria will be killed and those that do survive may
develop a resistance to the drug
We actively encourage all staff and visitors to regularly clean
their hands with the hand sanitiser that is available whenever they
enter a ward, or before they have contact with patients. You will
find hand sanitiser dispensers at the entrance to every ward and in
various other locations around the hospital. Please use the hand
sanitiser every time you visit a patient to minimise the risk of
passing an infection onto them. It's a very simple process -
just press the button on the dispenser and rub the sanitiser into
your hand, taking care to cover both the palm and backs of your
hands and the skin between your fingers. The sanitiser will dry in
a few of seconds, and you are free to enter the ward.
Please do not hesitate to ask staff whether they have used the
hand sanitiser before coming into contact with your friend or
Health care associated infections (HCAIs)
Staphylococcus aureus (Staph aureus)
Staphylococcus aureus is a common skin bacterium; at any one
time around a third of us have it on our skin or in our nose
without any ill effects. This bacterium can cause disease,
particularly if there is an opportunity for it to enter the body
and the person has a weakened immune system. Illnesses such as skin
and wound infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia and
bacteraemia (blood stream infection) may then develop. It can also
cause food poisoning.
Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
Antibiotics are used to treat infections caused by bacteria.
However, bacteria that are not killed by antibiotics can develop
resistance enabling them to survive and multiply. Some types of
Staph aureus have become resistant to certain antibiotics, which
mean the antibiotics are no longer able to kill the bacteria. One
such strain is resistant to meticillin (an antibiotic type commonly
used to treat infections) and is therefore known as
meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA)
Staphylococcus aureus that can be killed by meticillin or other
penicillin-like antibiotics, such as fucloxacillin, is described as
meticillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA).
Clostridium difficile (C.diff)
Clostridium difficile is a bacterium which is usually found in
the large intestine. It is normally 'kept in check' by the
'friendly' bacteria of the gut. When some patients are prescribed
antibiotics all the healthy intestinal bacteria are removed,
allowing C.diff to multiply and produce toxins. These toxins cause
severe diarrhoea, ranging from a mild form to a very severe
Acinetobacter is a type of bacterium that is commonly found in
the environment - in drinking and surface waters, soil, sewage and
various different types of foods. Many healthy people probably
carry these bacteria on their skin with no adverse effect. There
are about 25 different types of Acinetobacter, and a few of these,
particularly a species called Acinetobacter baumannii, can cause
infections in hospital patients who are already unwell. Such
infections can include pneumonia, bacteraemia (blood stream
infection), skin and wound infections, or urinary tract infection.
These 'hospital-adapted' strains of Acinetobacter are sometimes
resistant to antibiotics and may be difficult to treat.
Following simple hygiene rules (such as washing hands) can
prevent the majority of the infections described below, and when
patients do acquire an infection they can usually be effectively
treated with antibiotics. If you have any concerns about infection
prevention and control the hospital please contact our infection
prevention and control team.
Infection prevention & control
team: 01702 435555 ext 6639 / 6986 /
6919 / 6988