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Good news: Wiltshire figures show a further decline in hospital infections

The January meeting of NHS Wiltshire’s board has been told that the number of healthcare associated infections at the three acute hospitals used by the primary care trust are continuing to fall.  As infection control improves the targets (*) set each year by the Department of Health drop and those for GWH, Bath’s Royal United and the Salisbury Foundation Trust for the current year are set very low indeed.

The two main infections are MRSA and Clostridium difficile (usually known as C. difficile or C. diff)  But now hospitals also have to report cases of Escherichia coli (or E Coli) and MSSA which is very similar to MRSA and just as dangerous.

Giving the figures for the first six months of 2011-2012, NHS Wiltshire’s Director of Nursing, Mary Monnington, made it clear to the board meeting that each case of these infections is one case too many.

One worrying figure showed a sudden rise in C.diff cases at Salisbury’s hospital in July 2011 which means it’ll be more difficult to meet its target for the full year.  It is thought July’s figures were a ‘blip’ and it’s been proved the increase in the number of cases was not caused by cross infection within the wards.

Both the RUH in Bath and the GWH are on course to meet their targets for C.diff cases.  The target for GWH is set at thirty-nine C. Diff cases through 2011-2012 – so far they have had just thirteen cases which is more than sixteen cases better than expected.

On MRSA the figures for all three hospitals are looking very much better – reflecting the special emphasis put on beating the infection and, where possible, on screening patients before they go into hospital to see whether they are bringing the infection in with them.

GWH has a target of two MRSA cases for the twelve months to the end of March 2012.  Their latest figures show they have already had two cases and so are taking every possible step to ensure they have no further cases over the next two months. 

New Chief Executive
This was the first board meeting of NHS Wiltshire (on Wednesday, January 18) attended by the new chief executive of the merging Wiltshire and Bath and North-east Somerset PCTs, Ed Macalister-Smith (pictured left.)  He was on only his sixth working day at the Devizes headquarters.

Mr Macalister-Smith will be overseeing the merging – or clustering, as it’s known – of the two PCT’s for the final year of their existence.  In April 2013 the commissioning of primary health services for the county will become the responsibility of three Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) lead by local GPs.

The new chief executive takes over from Jeff James who resigned last year and is now working with the NHS in South Wales.  Mr Macalister-Smith worked for the NHS in Wiltshire some fifteen years ago.

Since then he has been chief executive at NHS Isle of Wight and at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre NHS Trust in Oxford.  He was chief executive of NHS Buckinghamshire until last year when it merged with NHS Oxfordshire as part of the government’s reorganisation of the NHS in England.

He told the Board that his main responsibility was to continue to provide safe and effective care for patients in the county.  That would be his ‘day job’ and “Absolutely what I will concentrate on.”

However, he recognises that there was also a ‘massive transition job’ to be done in the switch to the coalition government’s new regime for the NHS.  One of his special tasks, he said, would be to make sure that the PCT’s public health functions were handed over efficiently and with care to Wiltshire Council.

(*) “Targets” were a Labour government priority for the NHS.  The coalition government is now replacing with them with “Ambitions” – mandatory ambitions.

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  • Marlborough-2013-04-18 St Peters
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