Hospital-acquired Infections

– in the Scottish Parliament on 25th April 2019.

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Photo of Anas Sarwar Anas Sarwar Labour

5. To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to prevent hospital-acquired infections. (S5O-03148)

Photo of Clare Haughey Clare Haughey Scottish National Party

Scotland has made significant progress in tackling healthcare-associated infections. Since 2007, Scotland has seen significant reductions in infections such as C difficile, which is partly due to improved use of antibiotics in hospital and community settings.

Not all healthcare-associated infections are preventable, however, and our national infection prevention and control manual makes it easy for our front-line healthcare staff to apply effective infection prevention and control practice. The NIPCM ensures that the assessment and escalation of infection outbreaks and incidents are far more robust.

Our well-established national infection surveillance system provides national health service boards with rich intelligence that can be used to target quality improvement interventions and improve patient safety. The Scottish patient safety programme has truly become a national safety movement that attracts interest from all over the world. Since 2012, there has been a 21 per cent reduction in sepsis mortality rates in Scotland.

Photo of Anas Sarwar Anas Sarwar Labour

The minister will be aware of the tragic deaths that are associated with the Queen Elizabeth university hospital. Will she take this opportunity to express her condolences to all the families who were impacted by those tragic events? Will she update the Parliament on the progress of the independent inquiry into the structural issues at the Queen Elizabeth hospital? The health board is considering legal action against those who designed and built the hospital? What is her view on that? What reassurance can she give to patients and their families that they will be safe going into the Queen Elizabeth hospital?

Photo of Clare Haughey Clare Haughey Scottish National Party

Our thoughts are of course with the families who were affected; I am sure that that sentiment is echoed around the chamber.

The board is taking all the necessary steps to manage the incident and ensure patient safety. Mr Sarwar will be aware that the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport updated the Parliament on 26 February, when she announced that she had commissioned an independent review. Dr Andrew Fraser, director of public health science at NHS Health Scotland, and Dr Brian Montgomery, former NHS medical director and interim chief executive of NHS Fife, have agreed to act as co-chairs of the independent review.

In order to ensure appropriate membership of the review committee, the independent chairs—Dr Fraser and Dr Montgomery—have been taking advice from experts on who will be best able to contribute to the review, as well as analysing and reflecting on the work that has been done to date. From that, they will determine the review’s precise remit and the resources and support that they will require. I expect that the independent chairs will shortly be able to consult on a draft remit.