Doctors to consider scrubs to reduce infection in hospitals Zosia Kmietowicz Manchester Doctors' representatives have criticised the government for failing to act sufficiently swiftly to control the rise of hospital acquired infections in the United Kingdom. They called for new resources to tackle factors that they saw as contributing to the problem in particular, high bed occupancy and the contracting-out of hospital cleaning services. Representatives at the annual meeting of the BMA in Manchester this week also called for controls to be set for visitors to hospitals to help stem the spread of infections. They also agreed to consider the introduction of scrubs for all healthcare professionals and students working in hospitals. Geoffrey Lewis, a member of BMA Council who proposed the motion on cleanliness in hospitals, told the conference that despite the government's pledge to halve the number of cases methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in the next three years, the problem of hospital acquired infections was getting worse. The incidence of MRSA in England and Wales has risen by 600% in the past 10 years, he told representatives. In 2003, there were 7647 cases of MRSA in England and Wales, a rise of 4% on the previous year, and 955 deaths. This compared with 481 deaths in 1999. Dr Lewis added that the UK had two of the most virulent strains of MRSA in existence. He said that a second year medical student in the Midlands had recently reported that patients in the area were scared to go to hospital because they were concerned of what they could catch there. Bridget Jackson from Sheffield opposed the motion because she believes that there is inadequate evidence that high occupancy of beds and contracted-out cleaning services were to blame for increasing rates of infection. "It is an oversimplification of the issues and private cleaning contractors are being made scapegoats," she said. "We must not allow the government and the press to propagate the myth that cleaning will solve the problem. We need more research and better data on the incidence of bacteraemia." Dr Lewis responded, "There is always a case for gathering more evidence, but we have to do something now. We need clean staff, and we know hospitals are dirty. We need to take steps now, we can’t delay it." Andrew Butterworth, a member of the junior doctors' forum, said, "It is shocking that our hospitals are so infected." Watches, rings, ties, shirt cuffs, and white coats can all transmit infection, he said. "I propose that we should lead the way and that we use items of clothing that are laundered properly and wear scrubs in the hospital environment."
Jim Johnson, chairman of the BMA, agreed that the idea of scrubs for all hospital staff was a sensible proposal. "However, it will be enormously difficult to implement, and we would have to have the same for visitors," he said. "[The issue of introducing scrubs] is something we will have to look at, but it may be something that we cannot achieve."
Tuesday, October 30, 2007 Health Scare Du Jour - MRSAFrom BUFFALO on America’s North Coast
The often politically-confused Betsy McCaughey, former lieutenant-governor of New York, has found a new gig -- lobbying goverment to prevent infections. What is the top issue in British politics? Clean hospitals. When Prime Minister Gordon Brown addressed the Labour Party last month, he promised the cheering crowd that all hospitals would be “deep cleaned” to rid them of superbugs such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which are killing an estimated 8,000 hospital patients yearly. He also ordered doctors in the British National Health Service to replace their long-sleeved lab coats with freshly laundered short-sleeved or sleeveless scrubs to curb the spread of germs. New data in the Oct. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association show that MRSA hospital infections are killing more than 18,000 people a year, many more than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention previously estimated. Her conclusion? American politicians, including the presidential candidates, should take a page from Brown’s program. Yes, all too predictably, she wishes government to do something about it. Now, let's leave aside for the moment that, by her own numbers, the British death rate from MSRA is more than double that of the U.S. (.0013% vs. .006%). And let's not forget that deaths from infection are important (though by no means the "top issue") to Brit politicians because the UK's health care system is government-run and therefore as much a political football there as the public schools are here.. Our health care system is still, by and large, privately operated. We don't need politicians to run in with more of our money and more laws just because something's gone wrong. We are an independent, resourceful people who care about the treatment our ill receive and there's no reason to believe that only through the strong arm of the state can solutions be found. Actually, though, the American government has done something to address MRSA. It will cut off reimbursements to health-care providers for hospital-acquired infections. Ms. McCaughey must be aware of that, but I suspect that her group is lobbying for more money -- not less.
DOCS: CUT MRSA BY AXING WHITE COATS
They harbour hospital bugs, BMA told By Lorraine Fisher 28/06/2005 From www.mirror.co.uk DOCTORS want to ditch their traditional white coats for ER style scrubs to help the fight against MRSA. Medics voted to scrap the coats, which date from the 19th century, because they are a breeding ground for germs that can be spread between patients. Research found one in four white coats harbour bugs, including the MRSA one staphylococcus, and most are worn several times before going to the laundry. Some hospitals have banned them in favour of scrubs - loose-fitting operating theatre clothes that are changed daily. Junior doctor Andrew Butterworth told the BMA conference in Manchester yesterday: "It is so shocking that our hospitals are so infected. "Health care professionals should take some responsibility. "It has been highlighted that watches, rings, ties, white coats and cuffs of suits have been areas of breeding or holding infections. As doctors we should lead the way by using properly laundered clothes. "Given the popularity of medical dramas like ER, it is now acceptable for doctors to wear scrubs." But not all backed a ban. Dr Andrew Davis said: "People who walk around in grubby clothes will walk around in grubby scrubs. "Money would be better spent making sure we washed our hands regularly." Surgeons who operate naked spread less germs, a Swedish study said. -THE NHS should have to pay transfer fees like football clubs when it poaches third world countries' doctors and nurses to work in Britain, GP Kate Adams told the conference.