NHS trusts in England are to be given £45m to recruit specialist staff in efforts to boost cleanliness and tackle levels of superbugs such as MRSA.
Health secretary Alan Johnson said the cash would mean every hospital trust would be able to hire two infection control nurses, two isolation nurses and an antimicrobial pharmacist.
The extra funding was outlined in the government’s ‘Clean, safe care’ strategy to tackle healthcare associated infections.
Johnson said: “Healthcare associated infections are everyone’s responsibility, from NHS cleaning and care staff to me as secretary of state – and I take that responsibility seriously.
“The past 60 years have seen great advances in healthcare and medicine. For example, the use of antibiotics have saved countless lives, but antibiotics do not work on most coughs, colds and sore throats and their unnecessary use can leave the body susceptible to gut infections, such as Clostridium difficile.
“The new pharmacists that trusts will be able to recruit will be key to ensuring proper antibiotic prescribing on wards.”
Guidance on HR procedures, including the importance of induction and training on infection prevention and control for staff, is to be formulated
The strategy also includes plans for a ‘cleaning summit’, focusing on cleaners as part of the solution to infections and cleanliness and not part of the problem.