28 days to go: We pledge £52 million to fight MRSA

A £52 million plan to put matrons back in charge in Britain’s NHS hospitals, armed with powers to spearhead a new crackdown on the MRSA “superbug”, has been unveiled by Michael Howard. Switching the election campaign spotlight onto health, the Party Leader announced that as part of a wider strategy to clean up dirty hospitals, an incoming Conservative administration will give priority to a special initiative to combat the crisis in hospital-acquired infections.

The clean-up drive will include providing extra funds to those hospitals which agree to adopt a ten point ‘best practice’ action plan which involves the named appointment of the Matron who will be responsible for infection prevention and control; establishing clear lines of accountability from senior nurses and midwives on wards to the Matron, to deliver cleanliness and infection prevention standards; and accepting a A Trust-wide dress code policy which will minimise cross-infection, maintain a professional appearance and enable staff to be easily identified.

If the Matron, or senior nurse, decides that the standard of cleaning is not good enough, a dirty ward would be cleaned again, until the appropriate standard is met. Otherwise Matrons will withhold payment.

Other details of the scheme include providing a designated uniform-changing area; promising to implement a model cleaning contract; ensuring that all wards have access to 24/7 cleaning; and seeing that senior nurses check every bed before a patient occupies it.

If the Matron, advised by the Infection Control Team after a risk assessment, decides to close a bed or ward, that decision could not overturned by any other manager.

After a campaign visit to St George’s Hospital in Tooting, South London, Mr Howard returned to party HQ to launch his policy initiative, rip into Labour’s failure to get a grip on the MRSA scandal, and warn that NHS patients “are dying because of Mr Blair’s targets”.

Calling for a change of direction, Mr Howard declared: “We’ll put matron back where she belongs – in charge. This is central to my whole approach. It’s called accountability. When something goes wrong someone, somewhere should take responsibility. Just as when something goes well they should get the credit – not the politicians. We’ll also require hospitals to publish their infection levels so that patients know which hospitals are the cleanest. And we’ll give them the right to choose to be treated in those hospitals.”


story from www.conservatives.com