Health staff who look after Sheffield’s most vulnerable babies have cut infection rates – and are now up for an award for their success.
Medics from the Jessop Wing’s neonatal unit have reduced hospital infections such as MRSA by 75 per cent over the past two-and-half-years, through a campaign called Reduce The Rate.
The campaign saw infections drop from 51 in June 2010, to 11 in December last year.
And it now in the running for a national Patient Safety Award.
Steps taken to reduce infections include using waist-high screens to create sterile zones around equipment trolleys, cleansing babies’ skin with a stronger antiseptic and introducing universal ‘barrier nursing’, where staff wear gloves and aprons when caring for babies while in an incubator.
Dr Elizabeth Pilling, a consultant neonatologist at the Jessop Wing at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, said: “We’re delighted our campaign has dramatically improved infection rates over a sustained period of time.
“The campaign is a great example of how nurses, hospital matrons, consultants, specialists in microbiology and junior doctors can all work together to reduce infection rates for the benefit of patients.
“Not only has the campaign played a pivotal role in reducing the number of days premature babies spend on a ventilator, but it also means many can go home earlier.”
Throughout the campaign staff were able to attend drop-in sessions where they could suggest ways infection rates could be reduced and post comments in a suggestion box.
Consultants also demonstrated the importance of good hygiene by encouraging team hand-washing at the start of ward rounds.
The awards are run by the Health Service Journal and Nursing Times, and the neonatal team are nominated in the Infection Control and Hygiene category.
The winners are due to be announced at a ceremony in London in July.