"National Directorate for control of MRSA needed" - Ó Caoláin
Speaking during Leader’s Questions yesterday, Sinn Féin Dáil Leader and spokesperson on Health and Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD called on the Taoiseach for the establishment of a National Directorate for the inspection, prevention and control of MRSA & other hospital- acquired infections.
The Cavan-Monaghan TD said: “Earlier this year the head of the HSE Professor Brendan Drumm said that to give the figures for people who die in our hospitals with MRSA would frighten the public. This would be bad enough but the truth is we do not know the full extent of deaths caused either directly by MRSA or with MRSA as a key contributory factor. We DO know that the problem is alarming and growing. There is widespread public concern to the extent that many people are afraid to be admitted to hospital because of the level of infection and this is especially true of older people.
“When I questioned Health Minister Mary Harney on this two weeks ago she gave statistics comparing this State with the Six Counties and with regions in Britain. What she did not say was that together with Britain and Greece, Ireland has the worst rates of MRSA infection in Europe. We have 70 times the rate in the Netherlands. These infections and deaths are preventable with proper hygiene, proper management and proper vigilance. One of the problems is the failure of hospitals to inform patients and their relatives that they have MRSA. The Government should encourage coroners around the country to follow the example of the Dublin City Coroner and to require that all deaths attributable to MRSA are reported to the coroner.
“The 1995 guidelines for prevention of MRSA infection were not properly implemented and urgent action is needed now to ensure that real action is taken in every hospital and every care facility. The Government should set up a National Directorate for the inspection, prevention and control of MRSA & other hospital- acquired infections.
“Nursing homes and community settings are not properly covered by current anti-MRSA measures. The Government should heed the call of MRSA and Families for the Health Information and Quality Authority to expand its role and responsibilities to include hospitals, nursing homes & community settings, and to report its findings directly to the National Directorate.”