Three MRSA cases at Trust facilities in last year

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There were three cases of people contracting the potentially deadly MRSA superbug in Western Trust facilities over the past year, it has emerged.

A total of 12 cases were dealt with by local health professionals.

The 12 cases were against a target of 10 cases for the year, but Trust board members pointed out that the bulk of the cases did not originate within Trust facilities.

The majority of the cases involved people who contracted MRSA elsewhere before they were brought into hospitals or care facilities in the west and diagnosed.

Meticillin-resistant Straphylococcus aureas (MRSA) is a name for a group of common bacteria which are resistant to a wide range of antibiotics.

A fourth case may also have been health-care related, the Western Health and Social Care Trust Board was told at their May meeting this week.

Trust board members have expressed concern that the diagnosis figures required by the Public Health Agency do not take account of where MRSA is picked up.

The Western Health and Social Care Trust’s Medical Director Alan McKinney said: “Four is beyond where we want to be.

“We intend to undertake an improvement programme this year specifically targeting MRSA infections.

“We want to get to zero infections this year.”

Trust Chief Executive Elaine Way said that she was aware of one case which had resulted from a decision to treat someone in a life and death situation, adding that in this episode it was “almost unavoidable”.

Mr McKinney said that the target set for Clostridium Difficile (C-Diff) had been “quite ambitious, but we have actually managed to achieve that.”

“That puts it into the top 25% of UK hospitals for C-Diff,” Mr McKinney said.

It was pointed out during this week’s monthly Trust board meeting that the ratio of MRSA infection in the Western region is 0.37 per 10,000 patients, where as the Northern Ireland average is higher at 0.48 per 10,000.

For C-Diff meanwhile, the ratio is 2.32 in every 10,000, again lower than the Northern Ireland average of 3.06 per 10,000.