Hospital toolkit encourages new approach to infection control

14-Mar-2014

Document to help hospitals identify, manage and control viruses caused by carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae

Public health chiefs have launched a new toolkit to help healthcare workers improve infection control practices.

The toolkit from Public Health England will help hospitals to identify, manage and control viruses caused by carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE).

CPEs are strains of gut bacteria that have the ability to kill a key group of antibiotics called carbapenems, making them resistant to these drugs.

Two trusts in Manchester have seen CPE strike more than 100 patients during the past five years.

Following the publication of the new toolkit, a Patient Safety Alert has been issued to encourage take-up.

The alert, devised by PHE and NHS England, urges trusts to immediately identify if there are, or have been, cases of CPE in their organisation.

It also recommends introducing the development of a CPE management plan at board level.

It says that managing cases or outbreaks of antibiotic resistant infections in hospitals necessitates four crucial elements:

  • Samples taken early for microbiological analysis if there is a suspicion that a patient is infected with resistant bacteria
  • Managing the patient to stop any resistant bacteria spreading to others
  • Robust infection prevention and control measures such as hand washing and comprehensive cleaning and decontamination
  • Reviewing the employment of medical gadgets and prescribed antibiotics

The NHS’s chief medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, has previously warned that the increase in antibiotic resistance is a ‘real threat to our ability to treat diseases’.

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She said: “The new toolkit will ensure that hospitals are well placed to detect, manage and control any cases.”