Conservatives promise to combat hospital "superbug"

Michael Howard has promised that an incoming Conservative government will give priority to sustained and effective action to tackle the MRSA hospital "superbug". He warned that in spite of 21 separate initiatives by the Blair administration, thousands of NHS patients are still dying from hospital infections every year.

And condemning the Labour Government's half-hearted action as "intolerable", Mr Howard declared: "The time has come for a sustained and effective programme of action. The next Conservative government will therefore make ridding our hospitals of the superbug a key priority. Patients deserve, and patients will get, clean and safe hospitals."

Criticising the way hospital bosses have kept unclean, infected wards open because of Government targets, Mr Howard made it clear that under a Conservative administration, patient safety would come first. The plethora of targets would be scrapped, patients would be given proper information about MRSA, and infection statistics would be made public.

However, most significantly, under the party's Right to Choose policy, patients would be able to determine which hospital to have an operation in, which would force those with a disease problem to clean up their act.

"Hospital managers will therefore have real incentives to force up standards. Dirty hospitals will lose patients and the funding which goes with them. Clean hospitals will gain patients and the funding, and the reputation of hospitals will be based in part at least on how clean and infection-free they are. The best hospitals will drive up standards for the worst…and all hospitals will compete to be the cleanest and safest in the country," he said.

Pointing out that other countries have successfully cracked down on MRSA, Mr Howard said: "The superbug is a British disease. The Right to Choose is the cure. The Conservatives will give the Right to Choose to professionals in the health service as well as to patients. That is the way in which we will overcome the hospital superbug and save the lives of patients."



story from