MRSA rates at six-year low, Dáil is told

Row over Minister for Health’s handling of questions

Minister for Health James Reilly at the national healthcare conference the National Convention Centre Dublin on Wednesday.
 Photograph: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Minister for Health James Reilly at the national healthcare conference the National Convention Centre Dublin on Wednesday. Photograph: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Thu, Mar 21, 2013, 06:00

MRSA rates in hospitals are at a six-year low, Minister for Health Dr James Reilly has said.

Dr Reilly said that since 2010 there had been a 20 per cent reduction in MRSA across the State, adding that the management of healthcare -associated infections, including MRSA, was a key patient safety issue.

“These include the HSE’s national infection control plan, which was launched in 2007,’’ he added.

Replying to a series of questions, the Minister said provisional figures had shown that the number of cases in Tallaght hospital had fallen from 27 in 2008 to seven last year; in Cork University Hospital, the reduction over the same period was from 25 cases to 17.

Fine Gael TD Derek Keating said he welcomed the progress made and the work done by the Minister and frontline staff in hospitals. “However, the number of deaths, amputations, chronic infections and debilitating conditions that the MRSA has caused is devastating, especially in circumstances where it can be prevented,’’ he added.

Earlier, Sinn Féin spokesman Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said that there were 91 questions to the Minister yesterday in the names of Fine Gael TDs, leading to the exclusion of Opposition TDs at oral Question Time.

“I would judge eight of those questions to have been written by their respective authors, the named deputies, but 83 of them are definitely manufactured by a single hand, each of them seeking information on measures that have been taken,’’ he added.

Fianna Fáil spokesman Billy Kelleher said it was a cynical exercise. As Mr Kelleher protested, Leas Cheann Comhairle Michael Kitt suspended proceedings for five minutes.