Billions of Pounds Needed to Halt Superbug Stampede

May 18th, 2015
Billions of Pounds Needed to Halt Superbug Stampede

Superbugs are wreaking havoc in hospitals up and down the country.

Open any newspaper and you’ll find daily reports of an MRSA outbreak in Manchester or a C.Difficile spate in Somerset – and things are set to get worse unless drugs companies can raise up to £25bn.

That’s the view of Jim O’Neill, a government advisor and leading economist, who claims a major cash injection to develop new medicines is vital if healthcare establishments are to win the fight against these silent killers.

The upshot of failing to act, he claims, will be the deaths of 10 million people by 2050, as drug-resistant infections run riot in the nation’s hospital wards. In his report, Mr O’Neill warns the current crop of antibiotics are ineffective against drug-resistant bacteria, with new infections emerging on an almost yearly basis.

Indeed, MRSA and C.Diff are evidently a major problem in our hospitals, already developing to the point where they’re practically resistant to the antibiotics at our disposal. Worryingly, even routine procedures will become unworkable if there are no antibiotics to ensure patient safety.

According to Mr O’Neill, around 41 antibiotics are in development, but  they’re  not designed to meet immediate threats, and he’s called on the pharmaceutical industry to begin investing in antibiotics that work.

This investment, however, will be at the taxpayers’ expense, with the big pharmaceutical firms unlikely to play ball and develop new antibiotics over the next decade unless heavily subsidised by the British public.

But aside from developing new drugs, what else can be done to combat the problem?

Healthcare Cleaning

Over the last 10 years, almost 37,000 people have died in the UK from hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), with poor hygiene in healthcare establishments – hospitals, dentists and GP surgeries – a leading cause.

As you might expect, healthcare environments must abide by strict legislation when it comes to hygiene standards, with a clean and safe environment vital to ensure patients’ risk from HAIs is kept to an absolute minimum.

But how?

The Health Act 2006 made it the responsibility of NHS trusts to make sure the local provision of healthcare cleaning services is effectively resourced. This means the creation of a strategic cleaning plan and the ability to demonstrate how standards have been met.

Oftentimes, this involves a specialist company working alongside healthcare institutions to provide cleaning and disinfection services to not only slash the risk of infections, but to prevent and control superbugs from spreading.

Healthcare Waste

While healthcare cleaning is undoubtedly vital in the fight against superbugs, the importance of excellent waste management simply cannot be ignored.

For many healthcare establishments, the complex legislation surrounding the safe handling, collection and disposal of healthcare waste can be baffling, which is why many team up with experts to guide and help them deal with it appropriately.

This ensures the risk to human health is reduced, with hazardous and offensive waste disposed of properly and, where appropriate, recycled safely.

Up and down the country, healthcare institutions will contain a variety of solutions to accurately segregate waste, with clinical waste bins, dental waste containers, sharps bins and controlled drugs denaturing kits on hand in a bid to stop superbugs in their tracks.

With the superbug march likely to continue, killing even more people than cancer by 2050, it’s clear new antibiotics, along with a continued commitment to healthcare cleaning and disposing of waste, are the only solutions to help make our healthcare establishments a safe place for all.

What’s your take on this issue? Please let us know by leaving a comment below – we’d love to read your thoughts.

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