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New targets to fight hospital bugs

28 March, 2008  

The Scottish Government has laid out a series of measures aimed at tackling hospital infections.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Grampian and Western Isles are to pilot a new screening programme for MRSA, Health minister Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs at Holyrood.

She also announced tough new targets on hand hygiene and a three-year delivery plan on hospital acquired infection.

Ms Sturgeon said the three boards selected cover a population of almost one million people and will share £7 million of resources in 2008/09.

“They represent a diverse mix of urban, rural and island areas and, of course, they include a range of hospitals from the very smallest to large teaching hospitals.

“The pilot will be an exhaustive test of the screening model and crucially these pilots will enable us to make informed decisions about the shape of the national programme that we intend to roll out from next year.”

The first ever Scottish Audit Report on compliance with hand hygiene last December found it rose from 68% in the first audit of February 2007 to 79% in a September survey.

But the health secretary said: “79% compliance is in my view not nearly enough and I have therefore set all NHS boards the target to achieve at least 90% hand hygiene compliance by this November.”

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