Monday, February 18, 2008

Carry on screening

Up until the beginning of this year, it was standard operating procedure to screen patients, who had stayed overnight in hospital in the previous month, for MRSA, before they had an operation. Since the beginning of this year, it has been extended to a year. The result? We're getting a slew of unscreened patients who fell outside the one month cutoff when they were assessed, but are now within the one year cutoff. If a patient's MRSA status is in doubt, they have to go at the end of the list, so that the theatre can be deep cleaned afterwards. Which is all well and good, if there's only one such patient. What happens when you get two, or three? It hasn't happend to us yet, but it will. I expect somebody will just have to be cancelled.
So why don't they just screen everybody who's been in hospital overnight? Do you know how much that costs. I've just found out. One MRSA swab costs £32 to process. And you need five of them for an MRSA screen. That's £160 per person. £1000 buys you six. £1 million buys you six thousand, which is the output of about five or six wards in a year. One hospital's yearly total could be £5 million. Two hundred hospitals could spend a billion pounds on MRSA screens alone.
That's the sort of serious money the Government have to be willing to commit to fight MRSA.
What are the chances?

1 comment:

Deb said...

It's not just those who have been admited overnight, also include those who have had invasive procedures done in theatre as day case e.g cataracts at another hosp!! Fair enough only in other hospitals, not our own building. Also don't forget the diabetics, renal disease & dermatitis etc. All who don't have to have been in hospital to need screened. Makes the whole thing even more expensive.