A UK health authority has pledged to wipe out MRSA hospital infections by 2011.
In a report just published, Towards Healthier People and Excellent Care, NHS South East Coast set out priorities for the English counties of Kent, Sussex and Surrey.
This is the first time the NHS has been able to set its own goals at a regional level, and has made tackling hospital infection its top priority.
The authority has set itself an “ambitious” target of eliminating all hospital-acquired MRSA cases in the region in next three years, and aims to reduce the number of Clostridium difficile (C diff) cases – responsible for more than 90 deaths in Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells between 2004 and 2006 – by 55%.
Authority chief executive Candy Morris said the targets for infection control were partly inspired by the successes of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust in recovering from a C diff scandal.
She said: “Our expectation that there will be no hospital-acquired MRSA cases in Kent by 2011 is ambitious.
“However, we do know that infection control and cleanliness are a top priority for our patients and the public and that is why we will continue our relentless focus on patient safety and quality of care.
“Looking at how Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust have prioritised infection prevention and control and driven down MRSA rates, so that they are now the second best performing acute trust in the region, gives the confidence that our ambitious goals can be achieved.