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North West NHS Staff Rise to the Challenge as Waiting Times and Infection Rates Fall

NHS staff in North West hospitals and health centres have been praised by Mike Farrar, chief executive of NHS North West, for transforming services for local people. Figures out today show that the majority of our hospital trusts and primary care trusts in the North West have already achieved the national target, to make sure people wait a maximum of 18 weeks to start their treatment; and that the number of cases of the Clostridium difficile (C.diff) infection fell by 24% from April – June 2008. Earlier this month it was reported that MRSA rates in our region fell by 16% for the same period. “NHS staff have had to face a number of big challenges in recent years,” said Mike. “It was imperative that we made our hospitals and health centres safe environments. We also felt that we had a duty to end needless waiting for NHS treatment.” The Department of Health has set a target to reduce C.diff infections by 30% in the next three years; and MRSA rates by 57% from levels in 2003/2004. In addition, the national target is for patients referred by their GP, to begin their treatment within 18 weeks, unless the patient decides to delay their treatment or there are clinical reasons for a delay. “Even five years ago, it wasn’t uncommon for some patients to have to wait anything up to 18 months for their treatment to start,” Mike said. “Our doctors, nurses, therapists and managers have worked closely together to transform the experience of patients, making sure they have more accessible treatment. We’ve got more front-line NHS staff than ever before, and this coupled with investment in NHS services has made a big difference. “I’ve said previously that all NHS staff take infections such as MRSA and C.diff seriously. Preventing and controlling infection is an ongoing priority for everyone. We will continue to work hard and share successful ways to improve in this area and to make sure that good performance is sustained.” Central Manchester and Manchester Children’s University Hospitals NHS Trust is one of only seven in the country to be invited to take part in the national Showcase Hospital Trust Project. The aim is to help further reduce levels of infection, especially MRSA and C. difficile, through the use of new products and technologies. One of the technologies being evaluated is a ‘superbug robot’ - a state-of-the-art Hydrogen Peroxide Vapour (HPV) system. Treatment rooms are sealed with the robot inside and then left for 90 minutes. The vapour is then pumped out and the room is ready for the next patient. The hospital is also trialling a skin disinfecting product for use when inserting drips.