For the first time all Australians are able to see how well their local public hospital is controlling serious staph blood infections (staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia), with the release today of hospital infection rates on the MyHospitals website.
The Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon and Federal Member for Blaxland Jason Clare made the announcement today at Bankstown Hospital, which performed well in the report.
“The Gillard Government believes that patients have a basic right to know about the performance of their public hospitals. The publication of infection rates caused by these potentially deadly bacteria will drive improved hospital performance,” said Nicola Roxon, Minister for Health and Ageing.
“Hospital beds are important, but we want people to know what’s been hidden under the mattress. Now for the first time patients will be able to see how their hospital performs in controlling infections.
“Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAB) is a serious bloodstream infection which is often associated with surgical and other invasive medical procedures.
“They are approximately 7,000 SAB infections each year. Often they can also be resistant to antibiotics.
“It can be difficult to treat, but infection can often be prevented by taking simple precautions. Improved hand washing especially for doctors, nurses, carers and hospital staff is one of the most effective ways of doing this.
“The numbers and rates of infections are available to all Australians for over 450 public hospitals, representing over 87% of patient bed days.
“The Gillard Government’s reform is delivering greater transparency and accountability in the health system. Through National Health Reform a new authority will report on all Australian hospitals, public and private alike, with more detailed information on patient care, safety and quality and health outcomes,” said Ms Roxon.
Ms Roxon said SAB had been accepted as a national indicator of patient safety and health care quality since 2008. Though incidence of infection was collected by all states and territories, it had not always been publicly reported at hospital level.
The national benchmark for SAB is no more than two infections per 10,000 occupied bed days for acute care public hospitals.
The MyHospitals website can be accessed at www.myhospitals.gov.au
Federal Member for Blaxland Jason Clare said the announcement was good news for Bankstown Hospital.
“This is a really good result for Bankstown Hospital and I would like to thank the staff for their continued work to minimise the threat of hospital acquired infections,” Mr Clare said.
Bankstown Hospital patients are already benefiting from the Commonwealth’s investments in health reform, including:
- $2 million for surgical equipment
- $6.5 million for a four year investment in Geriatric Evaluation and Management day hospital services from 2009-10
For all media inquiries, please contact the Minister’s Office on 02 6277 7220