Doncaster Hospital praised for work to beat infections

Picture shows Doncaster hospital staff with the electronic alerts system.
Picture shows Doncaster hospital staff with the electronic alerts system.
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THE trust which runs Doncaster’s hospitals has been shortlisted for a major national award for an innovation aimed at reducing patient infections.

Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has reached the finals of the national Patient Safety Awards 2012 after developing a new alert system which reminds staff which patients have temporary catheters and asks them to check whether or not they are still needed.

Around 20 per cent of all UK hospital inpatients require short-term catheters – small tubes used to allow the bladder to empty – at some point during their stay.

There is a risk of infection, however, because bacteria can travel inside the tube and into the bladder.

The longer a short-term catheter is in place, the more likely it is the patient will develop an infection.

Staff at the trust, which runs Doncaster Royal Infirmary and Mexboough Montagu Hospital, developed an alert system with electronic reminders so patients with temporary catheters are reviewed every day to see whether or not they still need one.

Senior nurses receive an email with the hospital ID numbers of catheterised patients under their care and a request they conduct a review to determine if the device is still required.

The scheme was piloted in 2011 and has now been rolled out to additional areas in the trust’s hospitals.

The results from the pilot showed there had been a significant reduction of up to 50 per cent in the total number of ‘catheter days’, a measure that combines the number of patients on temporary urinary catheters with the number of days they had them.

Maurice Madeo, deputy director of infection prevention and control at the trust, said: “We are delighted that we have been shortlisted for this national award for an innovation that has improved the safety and quality of healthcare.

“There is a known risk of infection in patients who have short-term catheters, so it is crucial to review them on a daily basis.

“This new alert system allows staff to do that by triggering electronic reminders of every patient with a catheter and asking them to determine whether or not they still need one.”

The award winners will be named next month.