The UK Government have announced new plans to reduce the number of bloodstream infections found on hospital wards in England. The NHS will have to publish data for the first time as to the cleanliness of doctors’ and nurses’ hands as well as displaying the rates of E coli and sepsis in wards. Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, unveiled the tough new stance due for implementation by 2020 and the appointment of Ruth May as the new Executive Director of Nursing at NHS Improvement. Under the new plans, NHS organisations such as hospitals and other care services, will have to publish performance data on staff hand hygiene and E coli (which represents 65% of gram-negative infections which killed more than 5500 NHS patients last year), displaying them on wards in a similar manner to how MRSA and C difficile rates are currently shown.
In a statement at the Royal College of Nursing, Ruth May spoke of the need to address infection control within the NHS. She said that the measures were “…a clear plan to achieve real change across the NHS focusing on a combination of strict oversight from the CQC, publication and intelligent use of data”. Basic infection control procedures will centre at the heart of the actions to be taken to tackle the rise in ‘superbugs’.
The CQC will be responsible for examining new data on E coli and taking action against poorly performing areas, whilst Jeremy Hunt will drive forward plans to improve infection control training for staff and information sharing across the NHS.