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Kedgley calls for health-check on our hospitals

Kedgley calls for health-check on our hospitals

Green MP Sue Kedgley is calling for the urgent establishment of a national surveillance system to alert the public and health experts to the rate of superbugs and other infections being picked-up in the country's hospitals.

Ms Kedgley is making the call for a nationwide surveillance system following the publication today of a Health Select Committee report on its inquiry into hospital acquired infections (HAIs).

"It is scandalous that we do not even has something as basic as a national surveillance system for hospital acquired infections," Ms Kedgley said. "When you go to hospital for an operation, you don't expect to come out with life threatening septicaemia. Sadly, this is happening routinely in hospitals around New Zealand.

"The Ministry of Health has been dragging its feet on establishing a nationwide surveillance system, despite repeated calls for it from experts. I have evidence under the Official Information Act that experts in the field have been calling for years for its establishment, but nothing has happened because of lack of funding from the Ministry of Health.

"The superbug MRSA poses a real threat in some hospitals and the increasing proportion of MRSA superbugs that are developing resistance to two or more classes of antibiotics (multi-resistant MRSA) are a serious public health threat.

"The latest ESR surveillance figures show that an increasing proportion of MRSA notifications are multi-resistant. This is an alarming trend," Ms Kedgley said.

"Hospital acquired infections are preventable, and there should be a concerted nationwide strategy to reduce them. The first step in developing such a strategy is a national surveillance plan so that we know the extent of the problem.

"The public has a right to know how many people develop infections as a result of their treatment in a hospital," Ms Kedgley said. "They also have a right to know what are the comparative rates of hospital acquired infection in DHBs around the country. Because of the paucity of reporting, it is almost impossible to establish this.

"In the absence of a national standards, many DHBs are reluctant to divulge their true rates of hospital acquired infection, and MP's have had the utmost difficulty trying to establish the true rates in DHBs around New Zealand. This is unacceptable."

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