Patients Association response to WHO's warning on superbugs

7 Apr 2011 01:47 PM

Commenting on the warning by the World Health Organisation that the fight against superbugs is becoming harder, Patients Association trustee, Roswyn Hakesley-Brown said,

“The World Health Organisation’s bleak news on World Health Day that antibiotic resistant bacteria are becoming more and more of a problem must be a wake up call for hospitals, Trusts and the Department of Health alike as well as patients and their families. Peoples’ healthcare is put at risk if they are exposed to antibiotic resistant diseases like MRSA and a new bacteria, NDM-1, which  was discovered for the first time in England recently and already in India this bacteria is having a devastating impact with global implications.

It is imperative that more must be done to halt their spread. One of the biggest factors is cleanliness in hospitals and we hear from patients on our Helpline that some patients do not feel the hospital they were treated in was clean. Hospitals need to be kept cleaner and procedures put in place to ensure that they are kept hygienic. It is down to individual Trusts and leaders on the ward to ensure that wards are kept clean. Patients and families have a responsibility too, to make sure they don’t make the job of nurses harder. But the issue is bigger than cleanliness and goes to the heart of many of the problems we hear about on a regular basis. 

In our report, “Preventing Infection on the Frontline”, we found a worrying attitude amongst many NHS staff that infections were “not my problem”. This mentality could put patients at risk by not looking at the full picture and realizing that infections on the ward are a major issue and risk to everyone. There needs to be a change in the culture of care where staff take pride in the fact their ward is free from superbugs and work together with patients and the public to prevent the spread of superbugs. The continued rise of superbugs is getting out of hand and urgent steps must be taken to tackle them by addressing the root causes of their spread.”