MRSA Action UK’s fears for government’s continued failings over hygiene

MRSA Action UK’s dismay at the government’s continued failings to inform the public of the need to protect themselves from Swine Flu and other infectious illnesses that have become a modern day plague.
MRSA Action UK's fears for government's continued failings over hygieneWith H1N1 (Swine Flu), norovirus and the continuing threat from MRSA and Clostridium difficile in the community setting MRSA Action UK is dismayed that their calls for a public information campaign on both hand and respiratory hygiene have not been forthcoming.

Whilst there has been considerable efforts put into preventing avoidable infections in hospitals, the public are still largely unaware of the simple actions that can be taken to reduce the burden of avoidable infections in the wider community.

Resistant pathogens continue to concern many in the field of microbiology, but not all healthcare professionals are in tune with the need to inform their patients on the sensible use of antibiotics. Posters in surgeries are few and far between, workplaces, supermarket notice boards, schools and public transport could all help spread the word.

There are some NHS Hospital Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities that have taken the initiative to raise awareness, but with cuts in budgets for many this has been a lower priority, despite the fact that preventing infections is far more cost effective than trying to manage the consequences of contracting them in the first place, which can often be fatal.

The Swine Flu epidemic has served to heighten the need for information and more needs to be done to raise awareness not only of the need for those at higher risk to come forward for vaccination, but also to take the necessary precautions to help prevent and fight infections like the Swine Flu.

With cases of flu in England and Wales soaring by 45% in a week, Swine Flu reaching epidemic proportions in under-fives and 39 dead from flu, 36 from the H1N1 virus, it’s time for the government to put promised resources into a public information campaign.

The previous administration was criticised by the present Health Secretary Andrew Lansley for making promises it didn’t keep, the Labour government stepped down the resources that were earmarked for raising awareness by curtailing the “cleanyourhands” campaign and ignored the research findings that they themselves commissioned proving the need for a public information campaign. We had hoped the new administration would heed our warnings, but to date little has changed as the campaign has not come to fruition.

By Derek Butler Chair MRSA Action UK

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