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Patients Association warns of complacency over hospital superbugs

The Patients Association has warned that the Government cannot afford to be complacent over worrying revelations about the scale and severity of antibiotic-resistant ‘superbug’ infections in hospitals.

Launching their policy recommendations on the issue at a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Patient Safety in Westminster, the national charity will call for decisive action to prevent more lives being lost.

According to NHS England, it is estimated that more than 300,000 patients contract an infection in hospital in England each year. With the alarming rise of antibiotic-resistance, there are fears that mortality rates will sky-rocket for even the simplest of hospital procedures.

The Patients Association guidance challenges the Government to act to eliminate a 'culture of complacency' amongst staff and policy makers. It also calls on the NHS to make information on infection rates more accessible, so that patients can make informed decisions about their care. 

Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association said:

“With the startling rise of antibiotic-resistance, there is a real concern that patients undergoing even the most basic procedures in hospital will be put at risk of life-threatening infections that are very difficult to treat.

"Whilst some advances have been made in the fight against hospital infections, it is crucial that we eliminate a growing culture of complacency amongst clinicians and policy-makers. We need a concerted effort to improve awareness of the issue amongst staff, patients and their families and reduce the demand for unnecessary antibiotics with rapid point of care testing.

“We hear regularly on our National helpline from patients and families who have had their lives forever changed by infections in hospitals. The Patients Association is calling on the Government for decisive action to prevent more lives being lost and the support of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Patient Safety will be the first step in that process.”

Andrea Jenkyns MP, Chair of the APPG for Patient Safety said:

“Antimicrobial resistance is at the forefront of the minds of the Group as we make future recommendations to protect patient safety. 

“While the importance of this issue is understood at the highest levels of Government, with the Chief Medical Officer and Prime Minister leading on it globally, we must make sure clinicians and the general public do not underestimate or become complacent about the risks.

“I fully support the efforts of the Patients Association to drive forward improvements in this area.” 

Notes to Editors: 

For more information on the rise of ‘superbug’ healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs):

http://www.patients-association.org.uk/uncategorized/about-healthcare-associated-infection-hcai/

The Patients Association is an independent national health and social care charity established over 52 years ago, which has a long history of campaigning to ensure that the voice of patients is heard within the UK Health and Social care system. 

For further information please contact Deborah McDonald, Director of Operations and Marketing, on 020 8423 9111, or email deborah@patients-association.com or call 07779 004898. 

Visit our website at www.patients-association.org.uk

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