281 NHS Trusts licensed to use new online training course to fight spread of MRSA

281 NHS Trusts licensed to use new online training course to fight spread of MRSA

Almost 50% of all NHS Trusts in England are now licensed to use the innovative online training course entitled 'MRSA - You can make a difference', which was formally launched by The Training Foundation with approval from the Infection Control Nurses Association on 14th July 2004.

The runaway success of the programme has been warmly welcomed by MRSASUPPORT, the support group for MRSA sufferers and dependents. Having undertaken the course himself, the group's Chairman Tony Field gave it his enthusiastic personal backing: "It is the duty of every healthcare professional to take part in this most excellent training programme. Attitudes must surely be irrevocably changed by going through this course. Well done The Training Foundation!"

"MRSASUPPORT is pleased that patients in half the Country will benefit from improvements brought about by the course; however, we are concerned about the other half. We will be writing to the Chief Executives of those Strategic Health Authorities that have so far not participated to ask them why not, and whether they do intend to do so."

The 281 organisations participating span the full range of Acute Trusts, Ambulance Trusts, Care Trusts, Mental Health Trusts and Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and are the responsibility of a total of 11 Strategic Health Authorities across England:

All NHS staff in these areas will be able to access the course online via The Training Foundation's learning portal, www.mrsa.uk.net

Nick Mitchell, Chief Executive at The Training Foundation commented: ""The course was developed because one of our employees lost a close relative to MRSA and this led to us carrying out research into the issues. The infection control teams in most Trusts, supported by the Infection Control Nurses Association (ICNA), are doing an excellent job, generally with constrained resources. However, given the seriousness of the problem, we were surprised at the lack of a national training programme for all NHS staff and contractors.'

'This course uniquely focuses on motivating attitudinal and behavioural change and initial feedback has been tremendous. We invited every Strategic Health Authority to participate, so as to enable patients across the country to benefit from the impact the course can make in reducing the spread of MRSA. The level of response to the programme is unprecedented and more than 400,000 NHS employees in some 280 NHS Trusts will be able to access the course online. Of course, we would like it to reach every relevant NHS employee and will be inviting those Authorities that are not yet involved to join their colleagues."

Margaret Bruce of the North Central London Strategic Health Authority welcomed the initiative: "North Central London SHA established a Control of Infection Network in October 2003. The work we are doing is gathering pace and is seen as vitally important. We are keen to get staff really engaged ready for the launch of our sector-wide hand hygiene awareness onslaught this autumn. Now we have the perfect means of doing this and a key building block for our programme."

Tricia Hart, Director of Quality and Professional Development for the South West Peninsula Strategic Health Authority is equally determined to address the issue quickly: "Our focus on this key agenda is becoming even more acute. We are planning a Peninsula Infection Prevention conference in December and are delighted that members of The Training Foundation will be involved with this initiative. Working in partnership with all our organisations across Devon and Cornwall we hope to quickly reduce our hospital acquired infection rates and sustain this improvement year on year. The course is good news for patients and the learning format is good news for our staff."

John de Braux, Chief Executive of the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Strategic Health Authority also gave the initiative his personal backing: "The prevention and control of MRSA is of utmost priority to everyone working in the NHS. This innovative training initiative is excellent and I am delighted that Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire SHA is the first to achieve Authority-wide access for all staff. I am sure that it will reinforce and strengthen our existing staff training programmes and maintain our high standards in the critical area of patient safety across the Authority."

John Swain, Director of Primary Care Support for the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Strategic Health Authority was equally enthusiastic: "I have been impressed by this course; it is easy to use and designed to maintain the user's interest. We feel it will be relevant to all NHS staff and will complement our existing initiatives in the control of MRSA. As it can be used flexibly to suit local circumstances, we are sure it will help our Acute Trusts and Primary Care Trusts to achieve and maintain their performance in this key area, as set out in the new national standards for the NHS."

Jacky Hunt, Lead Nurse, Infection Control for East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "MRSA - you can make a difference is very user-friendly and integrates well with local policies and procedures. The course contains sound infection control information and I like the way that it emphasises that EACH health care worker can really make a difference."

Dr Tim Smith, Quality and Standards Directorate, Learning and Skills Council recently reviewed the course: "Fighting the spread of MRSA means that people must change their current behaviour. This delightful on-line course shows the learner how to make small changes that add up to a lot of impact. It's also fun to do."