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UK HAIs (hospital acquired infection): a £1 billion challenge

This article was originally published in Clinica

Executive Summary

This week saw a spate of reports on the UK's hospital acquired infection (HAI) situation. The problem - which already costs the NHS an estimated £1bn ($1.86bn) a year - is being billed as the UK's greatest healthcare challenge, affecting over 100,000 patients and causing some 5,000 deaths. These 2000 figures are said to be "the best estimate available", according to the National Audit Office, in its four-year review of the situation. The NAO report criticises the failure to establish a comprehensive mandatory surveillance scheme, despite plans to improve HAI monitoring (through the NINSS set up in 1996) with orthopaedic surgical site infection, bacteraemia and post-discharge surveillance.

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