HAIs, which include MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) and C.diff (Clostridium difficile) are some of the leading causes of death worldwide. In the European Union, it is estimated that 4.1 million people acquire HAIs every year, leading to approximately 37,000 deaths, 1 this compares with 25,000 people who acquire HAIs in Ireland annually.2
There is, however, less awareness of the significant economic burden these infections pose. In England, HAIs cost the health service approximately 1.6 billion Euros a year, mainly due to patients remaining in hospital an extra 3.6 million days,3 and according to another UK study patients with HAIs can take up to 17 additional days to return to their normal daily activities including work.4
A full analysis of the cost of these infections to the Irish healthcare system has not been carried out, but a recent estimate speculates that an additional 233.75 million Euros a year is spent by Irish hospitals to tackle these infections.5 At a time when the HSE is trying to contain costs, this represents a significant financial burden.
However, unlike neurodegenerative and non-communicable diseases, simple ways to reduce HAI rates are already available. While the majority of hospitals in Ireland deploy manual cleaning techniques, innovative technologies such as ASP’s GLOSAIR™ 400 area decontamination system have been shown to be far more effective.
For example, Galway Clinic, an independently funded hospital opened in 2004, recently trailed GLOSAIR™ 400, and was so impressed with the results that it has now purchased the technology.
Brigid McNelis, Infection Prevention and Control Nurse at Galway Clinic said “Galway Clinic is focused on continuous quality improvement and patient safety. For this reason we were keen to trial GLOSAIR™ 400, and were so impressed with the significant reduction in colony counts pre and post GLOSAIR hydrogen peroxide decontamination, compared to pre and post steam cleaning, that we have purchased the system and now use it in all our clinical areas. By using the technology we save staff time and are confident that our patients have the greatest possible protection from healthcare associated infections.”
Brian Farrell, ASP Ireland Account Manager said “We very much welcome the new guidance published by the HSE Clinical Effectiveness Committee, which sets out a programme to prevent and control MRSA in Irish hospitals and other healthcare settings. This initiative shows the commitment the HSE has made to tackling Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs) in Ireland and while significant progress has been made, more can be done. Greater awareness of the burden these infections have on the Irish healthcare system and wider economy, as well as the innovative technologies available to tackle them, will help.”