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Wall of silence on MRSA needs to be lifted - Cullinane

6 November, 2006


Sinn Féin General Election Candidate Cllr David Cullinane speaking at the second Annual MRSA and Families Network National Conference said the government must lift the wall of silence that surrounds the MRSA problem in Ireland. He said a more open and transparent approach was necessary with acceptance from the Minister for Health that MRSA is a serious problem that cannot be swept under the carpet.

Cllr Cullinane said:

"The issue of MRSA and other hospital acquired infections is a serious problem but one that can be tackled. The government‚s current policy of burying their heads in the sand and wishing the issue away is part of the problem. Ireland is lagging way behind other European Countries in the whole area of infection control as 1995 guidelines recommended in the Strategy for the control of Antimicrobial Resistance in Ireland remain un-implemented. This is a national disgrace and the government are responsible for extreme negligence. Individuals entering hospitals for treatment can get affected and die prematurely and unnecessarily.‰

"The governments own preliminary data estimates that 586 people died of MRSA in 2005. When this is compared to 11 in Denmark and 4 in Norway it makes for appalling reading. The Waterford conference heard stories from people who have had MRSA and from families who have lost loved ones. The shocking extent of the cover-up, lack of information and human suffering moved many. One of the main speakers at the event, an Infection Control Nurse from Holland, outlined a very successful Œsearch and destroy‚ policy that operates in hospitals there. The open and transparent approach adopted by the Dutch health authorities contrasts strongly with the veil of secrecy that exists in Ireland.

"The government needs to accept the issue of MRSA and other hospital acquired infections as a national crisis and respond accordingly. This means implementing its own 1995 SARI guidelines. I also support the Call from MRSA and Families Central Council for the setting up of a National Directorate for the inspection, prevention and control of MRSA and other hospital-acquired infections and I believe this should be done on a statutory basis. If the government continues to fail people on this issue we will see more people dying unnecessarily." ENDS

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