07 Feb ACT Has Third Highest Rate Of Hospital Staph Infections In Australia
The ACT has the third highest rate of patients contracting potentially-fatal bacterial blood infections while staying in public hospitals, a new report finds.
It also shows the ACT has made significant progress reducing the rate of infection over the past five years and is meeting national targets.
Staphylococcus aureus – or golden staph – is a common bacterium that can be transmitted to patients by doctors or nurses who do not follow hygiene protocols.
It enters the bloodstream through open wounds or the insertion of devices such as catheters and has a fatality rate of around 80 per cent if untreated.
The rate of infection, measured as the number of cases per 10,000 days of patient care, is used as an indicator of the safety and quality of a hospital.
Western Australia’s public hospitals had the highest rate in the country with 0.90 cases per 10,000 days of care, according to the report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIWH).
Tasmania was second highest with 0.89 cases followed by the ACT (0.79), New South Wales (0.75), Victoria (0.71), Queensland (0.69), South Australia (0.67) and the Northern Territory (0.58).
Each area was well below the nationally agreed benchmark of 2.0 cases per 10,000 days of care and the total number of cases nationwide has dropped from 1,732 in 2011-12 to 1,440 in 2015-16.
The ACT’s two public hospitals, Canberra and Calvary, had Australia’s highest rate of staph infection in a 2014-15 report published by the AIWH. In that timeframe the ACT had 0.84 cases per 10,000 days of care.
But Professor Peter Collignon AM, an infectious disease expert at Canberra Hospital, said the most recent results demonstrated a concerted push to combat the issue.
“At [Canberra Hospital] we were the first place in Australia that put in a programme where everybody who had a bug in their blood would be followed up,” he said.