23 September 2008 | Andy Allen
The NHS has called on its suppliers to help combat MRSA bloodstream infections in hospitals by designing new furniture, equipment and services for hospital wards to enhance cleanliness.
The Healthcare Associated Infections (HCAI) Technology Innovation Programme aims to speed up the development and introduction of cleaner hospital technologies.
Seven showcase hospitals across England are testing new infection-beating products as part of the Showcase Hospitals scheme led by the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency (PASA). PASA will then make the successful products widely available across the NHS as quickly as possible.
The Design Council has also been commissioned to engage designers with the "Design Bugs Out" programme. This aims to create 10 better designs for critical pieces of hospital equipment and furniture that have historically proved hard to clean effectively. The new designs are due to be available by March 2009.
The latest quarterly figures on MRSA bloodstream infections, published by the Health Protection Agency, claim the number of MRSA infections has fallen by 57 per cent in the past four years. The figures show that the risk of becoming infected with MRSA is at its lowest for 5 years.