The Royal College of Nursing has responded to criticism from Sir Richard Branson over what he described as “horrific” hospital infection rates.
The Virgin tycoon and recently-appointed vice-president of the Patients Association has called for all hospital staff to be screened for the superbug MRSA and receive immediate treatment if infected.
But a Royal College of Nursing spokesman said that nurses and other healthcare staff were already playing a large role in the reduction of healthcare associated infections.
He added: “Whilst we welcome this debate and accept screening of staff in certain clinical circumstances is of benefit, we feel it is important to note that this is only one part of a large jigsaw.
“It is measures such as hand hygiene, correct cleaning of equipment and the environment, good antibiotic controls and staff education that need to be enhanced to give the greatest impact.”
Although infection rates for MRSA are falling across the UK, with the most recent quarterly figures showing a 33% drop year on year, Sir Richard is calling for more to be done.
He told the BBC: “There have been some improvements, but the facts speak for themselves – and the facts are still horrific.”
Copyright Press Association 2008