Government 'is hampering the fight against MRSA superbug'

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Eight out of 10 hospital infection control teams believe government targets have hampered efforts to deal with the MRSA superbug, according to a survey published by the Liberal Democrats.

Eight out of 10 hospital infection control teams believe government targets have hampered efforts to deal with the MRSA superbug, according to a survey published by the Liberal Democrats.

The survey of 59 acute hospital trusts found most also believed bed occupancy rates were too high, and a quarter were not satisfied by hand washing by staff.

Nearly one in three were not confident that government strategies would combat the spread of hospital- acquired infections, while three quarters said their hospitals lacked sufficient isolation facilities or single rooms for patients.

The Liberal Democrat leader, Charles Kennedy, will today highlight proposals to scrap the Government's NHS targets, arguing that freedom from Whitehall control would allow doctors and nurses to manage hospitals in patients' best interests.

Paul Burstow, the party's health spokesman, criticised Labour and Conservative governments for failing to tackle superbugs.

He said: "We want to create a modern, efficient and effective health service that is properly staffed and securely funded. Doctors and nurses need freedom to use their clinical judgement and common sense to deliver good quality individual patient care - and not be overruled by Labour's political priorities.

"Scrapping targets is not the same as abandoning standards. But health care is far too complex to be boiled down into a set of conveniently eye-catching targets which distort good medical practice.

"Every year the equivalent of seven-and- a-half district general-sized hospitals are filled by people who pick up an infection during their stay ... The NHS needs the support and freedom to tackle infections, not political attacks.''

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