Health & Beauty
by Aspect County

Choose your hospital carefully to avoid hospital acquired infections

Hospital acquired infections, such as MRSA and C. difficile, have hit the headlines more than once in the past few years, and with good reason. Reports of whole wards having to be cleared whilst deep cleansing took place, and patients fighting off life-threatening infections, seemed to be a regular occurrence.

Thankfully, some simple new practices have been implemented, under the guidance of the Health Protection Agency, so these stories are less common than they once were. But that doesn’t mean to say that everything in the infection control garden is rosy!

Infection rates still high Nationally
Although incidents of MRSA and C. difficile have reduced significantly, according to the last set of national figures, the overall rate of infections is still running at a national average of around 6% of patients treated. This is because, whilst MRSA and C. difficile rates are reducing, rates of other infections, such as E. coli and salmonella, are showing significant increases, whilst pneumonia rates are also still an issue.

Although you can’t guarantee to avoid an infection if you go into a specific hospital, some hospitals certainly have better track records than others. For instance, in 2014 Benenden Hospital, in Kent, had an infection rate of 0.86% for hospital acquired infections, compared to a national average of 6.0%, and it also has an unblemished record of never having had a case of MRSA. Being a private independent hospital helps, as private facilities generally have better track records than NHS facilities. This is due in part to the fact that they do not have to cater for accident and emergency patients who need to be admitted immediately without rigorous infection control. It is however Benenden Hospital’s dedication to infection control and its determination to avoid patient infections, that sets it apart.

New investment to ensure standards are maintained
To support this determination, Benenden Hospital recently completed the opening of a new, £1.85m Sterile Services Department, to upgrade its already efficient facilities. The unit is where theatre instruments are cleaned, disinfected and sterilised and plays a vital role in infection control and the fight against hospital acquired infection.

Unlike many hospitals, who outsource this service, Benenden Hospital has always had its own Sterile Services Department. This new facility has the very latest sterilisation equipment, installed by a specialist contractor (who also has just finished a refurbishment of Guys and St Thomas’s Hospital in London). It’s part of a £45 million redevelopment of the whole site, which will result in a state-of-the-art hospital, poised to meet future healthcare needs.

The patient is always right
Benenden Hospital’s investment in facilities and highly trained staff illustrates its commitment to achieving positive patient outcomes. This has helped it to make a positive contribution towards the Benenden Group, recently being voted the UK’s most trusted private healthcare provider in the Moneywise Most Trusted’ Customer Service Awards 2015. The Group received the award for an unprecedented fifth year in a row, seeing off strong competition from Aviva, AXA PPP, BUPA and Simplyhealth. 

For more information about Benenden Hospital’s facilities and services, call 01580 242 521 or visit 
www​.benen​den​hos​pi​tal​.org​.uk