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York Hospital celebrates 365 days MRSA free

On Saturday (9 March) York Hospital reported 365 days without a hospital acquired MRSA infection.

Often referred to as the ‘hospital superbug’ MRSA stands for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA).

Constant year on year widespread activity has seen continuous reduction in the number of these cases reported. These activities focus on making the environment in wards and clinics as safe as possible for patients, focusing on prevention, practices and procedures.

These include MRSA screening for all elective patients, pioneering the national ‘clean your hands’ campaign, introduction of a hand hygiene pack designed especially to encourage children to wash their hands and proactive media and internal communications campaigns.

Elizabeth McManus, Chief Nurse at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Many patients attending hospital have a real fear of contracting MRSA so reaching 365 days MRSA free at York Hospital is great news for both our staff and patients.  

"Despite reaching this milestone, we are not complacent and will continue to keep up our work in this area to ensure that we keep not just York Hospital but all our hospitals free of MRSA.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank our staff for their continued efforts. A year without any MRSA infections demonstrates that they take clinical practices associated with eradicating MRSA extremely seriously.

“This is also great news for our patients and will help instil even greater confidence that infection prevention and control is a priority for York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.”

The Trust's decreasing target for MRSA cases is to report no more than two hospital acquired cases a year.

Notes to Editors:

  • MRSA (sometimes referred to as the `superbug`) stands for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA). MRSA is a bacterium from the Staphylococcus Aureus family.
  • About one in three people carry MRSA on the surface of their skin, or in their nose, without developing an infection. This is known as being colonised by the bacteria. However, if MRSA bacteria gets into the body through a break in the skin it can cause infections such as boils, abscesses, or impetigo (a bacterial infection of the surface of the skin). If it gets into the bloodstream it can cause more serious infections.
  • York Hospital is a pioneer site for the national 'clean your hands' campaign. Weekly hand hygiene observations monitor how well staff are doing.
  • Any elective patient within the mandated screening groups coming into hospital is offered MRSA screening. Early identification and treatment of people who harbour MRSA on their skin or nose without harm, and are not always aware of it, reduces the risk of spread and infection.
  • In August hand hygiene packs designed especially to encourage children to wash their hands was launched at York Hospital.  With the help of the York Teaching Hospital Charity, the Infection Prevention Team produced a colourful pack complete with its own character – ‘Higenie’ - to take children through the hand washing process step by step while giving essential tips to illustrate why hand hygiene is so important.

11 March 2013

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For further information contact Rebecca Aspin, Media and Communications Officer, on 01904 721855. 

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