A screening service designed to help hospitals in the fight against “superbugs” such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has been launched in the UK.
Synergy Healthcare is aiming the service at hospitals, residential homes and care facilities through its pathology division JMJ laboratories. The system will screen people entering healthcare facilities for MRSA.
The company claims the service promises a two- to four-hour turnaround compared to the traditional 24–48 hour turnaround associated with conventional screening methods.
Screening patients for MRSA on arrival at hospital is becoming increasingly common and is seen as a key strategic initiative designed to reduce the occurrence of the organism in hospitals.
As many as 5–7% of patients entering hospitals have been shown to be carrying MRSA, according to Synergy.
The new testing service harnesses polymerase chain reaction processes to deliver a test which is highly sensitive and specific to MRSA, and it has been already been adopted by both NHS and private healthcare providers in the UK.
“Doctors have published a few papers on this topic in the medical journals The Lancet, Journal of the American Medical Association and British Medical Journal (BMJ). The latest is from the BMJ 16 April 2008. The conclusion of randomised crossover trial: “Rapid test for MRSA led to the quick receipt of results
and had an impact on bed usage. No evidence was found of a significant reduction in MRSA acquisition and on these data it is unlikely that the increased costs of rapid tests can be justified compared with alternative control measures against MRSA.” Universal screening for MRSA has been suggested by the UK’s Department of Health. It looks as if the administrators and the politicians have become the experts and are wasting resources with no benefit in tackling this threat of MRSA.” – Dr Kadiyali M Srivatsa, Guildford, UK
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