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Fighting Infection

University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire Trust takes infection control very seriously. We have robust policies in place to reduce the risks of patients contracting infections, including MRSA, while they are in one of our hospitals. 

We also consider a clean hospital to be essential and invest millions of pounds every year ensuring we keep our wards and departments clean. Our wards are cleaned several times a day and we have a rapid response team for spillages. We also try to ensure our hand gel dispensers are always filled, however if you find one empty please do not hesitate to contact a member of the ward staff who will be happy to arrange for it to be replenished.

You can read about what other stringent measures we take to protect you from infection in our leaflet called 'Reducing the risk of infection'.

Hand Washing Video

A video created by the pupils enrolled in the media club at Cardinal Newman School for University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust. This is an informative video produced for the Trust to use as part of our on-going drive to teach people how to clean their hands properly.


Dedicated team

The Trust’s dedicated Infection Control Team, made up of a senior doctor and six senior nurses, spearheads our efforts to protect patients against MRSA.

MRSA, Clostridium difficile and MSSA Bacteraemia cases

Last year (2013-14) saw the Trust record 57 Clostridium difficile cases a 19% reduction on the previous year and 10 cases below the trajectory set for us by the Department of Health.

We had two cases of MRSA bacteraemia which is the same as the previous year.  MSSA saw a huge reduction of 50% from 48 cases in 12-13 to 24 for 13-14.

The Infection Prevention and Control Team at UHCW have been named as The Infection Prevention team of the year for UK and Ireland by the Infection prevention society. The award was in recognition for the work being done to empower the clinical staff to make sound clinical judgements around Infection Prevention and Control, The excellent results reflect the enthusiasm and dedication of staff to improve patient safety and care. 

C diff Apr 2014 - March 2015

  April 14 May 14 June 14 July 14 Aug 14 Sept 14 Oct 14 Nov 14 Dec 14 Jan 15 Feb 15 Mar 15
Number of cases  1  3  3  5  2  1  5  1  6      
In 2008/09 we recorded 147 cases against a target of no more than 311 C Diff cases.
In 2009/10 we recorded 116 cases against a target of no more than 244 C Diff cases.
In 2010/11 we recorded 104 cases against a target of no more than 208 C Diff cases.
In 2011/12 we recorded 90 cases against a target of no more than 86 C Diff cases.
In 2012/13 we recorded 76 cases against a target of no more than 70 C Diff cases.
In 2013/14 we recorded 47 cases against a target of no more than 57 C Diff cases.
All the C. diff figures now reflect 48 hours from admission and against national target only for consistency.

MRSA Apr 2014 - March 2015

  April 14 May 14 June 14 July 14 Aug 14 Sept 14 Oct 14 Nov 14 Dec 14 Jan 15 Feb 15 Mar 15
Number of cases  1  1  0  1  0  1  0  1      
These MRSA figures are for post-48 hours MRSA bacteraemias.
In 2008/09 we recorded 23 cases against a target of no more than 32 MRSA cases.
In 2009/10 we recorded 11 cases against a target of no more than 30 MRSA cases.
In 2010/11 we recorded 4 cases against a target of no more than 7 MRSA cases. 
In 2011/12 we recorded 1 case against a target of no more than 4 MRSA cases.
In 2012/13 we recorded 2 cases against a target of no more than 2 MRSA cases.
In 2013/14 we recorded 2 cases against a target of no more than 2 MRSA cases.

MSSA Bacteraemia
Apr 2014 - March 2015

  April 14 May 14 June 14 July 14 Aug 14 Sept 14 Oct 14 Nov 14 Dec 14 Jan 15 Feb 15 Mar 15
Number of cases  1  2  3  0  0  1  0  1        


Bare below the elbows

All staff at University Hospital and the Hospital of St Cross who have direct patient contact are required to be 'bare below the elbows' to ensure good infection control and comply with latest guidance from the Department of Health.

The new dress code means those colleagues having direct patient contact (inpatient or outpatient) are required to wear short sleeves or ensure that their long sleeves are securely rolled up. This ensures that thorough hand washing and use of the alcohol hand gels can be easily and effectively carried out.

White coats are not allowed and ties should either not be worn or tucked into shirts. Other than wedding rings, no jewellery should be worn either including wrist watches.

In the unlikely event that a patient does have a infection, we also have a number of leaflets explaining what we will do to minimise the impact on you and your relatives. You can read the leaflets by simply clicking on the links below:

MRSA: Information for patients and relatives

Extended Spectrum Beta-Lactamase (ESBL) Information for Patients and relatives

Clostridium difficile: Information for patients

Isolation and barrier nursing

Pre-operative MRSA Screening Information for Patients

Testing patients

At University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire we now screen patients for MRSA who are going to have an operation. The Trust also screens patients that are at high risk of carrying MRSA.

Andy Hardy, Chief Executive said: "The University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire are committed to reducing infection rates. The MRSA screening of patients before their elected operation is now fully underway and each month we will display our compliance with this process on the hospital's website."

Read our policy on screening, prevention of and management of patients with MRSA.

Diagnosing patients

A tiny proportion of patients admitted to one of the Trust’s hospitals are diagnosed with MRSA. The hospitals' top priority is to continually improve our record at controlling any MRSA outbreak. The Chief Executive and the Trust Board are committed to a zero tolerance approach, and over the last three months the Trust has implemented full MRSA screening to all elected patients.

Between April 2007 and March 2008, 38 patients were diagnosed with a MRSA bloodstream infection. We are implementing several measures to minimise any future MRSA occurrence, and in the last two years we have seen a 52% reduction in cases.

Treating patients

Patients who are most likely to be carrying MRSA are washed daily in powerful anti-bacterial soap and are given a nasal ointment proven to kill the bacteria as soon as they are admitted to one of our hospitals. This treatment only stops if tests confirm they are not carrying the bacteria. Patients who are found to be carrying MRSA are isolated and are given stronger medication to destroy the bacteria. This treatment only stops when tests confirm they no longer have MRSA.

Safeguarding drugs

MRSA can be treated using drugs. We are extremely careful about which medicines we use to treat MRSA infections. Patients are only given the strongest medicines when absolutely necessary. This reduces the risk of new drug-resistant strains of the bacteria emerging.

Cleaning hands

Our staff take great care to clean their hands with medicated lotions proven to kill MRSA before examining patients. There are over 1,500 alcohol gel dispensers across our two hospitals, for use by patients, staff and visitors. Everybody is urged to clean their hands immediately before and after they come into contact with patients. Patients are urged to ask staff if they have washed their hands before their examination. Cleaning your hands with soap and water or with the medicated lotions at the end of every patient’s bed and in every hospital ward reduces the risk of infection.

Last updated 08 December 2014

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