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The incidence of S. aureus bacteraemia in acute hospitals of the Mid-Western Area, Ireland, 2002-2004.Concerns about healthcare-associated infections and the global crisis in antimicrobial resistance has combined to accentuate the fears around so-called "superbugs". In Ireland there is no single agreed indicator regarded as a true measure of the level of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in hospitals. The objective of this study was to compare two crude measures of MRSA--the percentage of bacteraemia caused by MRSA and the incidence rate (per 1000 bed days used) of MRSA bacteraemia in six acute hospitals. We examined all blood cultures positive for S. aureus (methicillin sensitive and resistant) from 2002 to 2004 in the Health Service Executive (HSE) Mid-Western Area of Ireland. Hospital In-Patient Enquiry (HIPE) data was used to determine monthly in-patient bed days used. Of 245 patient episodes of bacteraemia, 119 were MRSA. The trends in the percentage of isolates that were MRSA and the incidence rate calculated were compared. The incidence rate appears to be a more reliable and robust indicator of MRSA in hospitals than the percentage. Despite many difficulties in interpreting indicators of MRSA they should not preclude the regular publication of data at least at regional level in Ireland.
Review of acute cancer beds.A review of admissions to cancer services at University Hospital Galway (UHG) was undertaken to assess the appropriateness of hospital usage. All cancer specialty patients admitted from 26-28 May 2009 were reviewed (n = 82). Chi square tests, Exact tests, and One-way ANOVA were utilised to analyse key issues emerging from the data. Fifty (61%) were classified as emergencies. Twenty three (67%) occupied a designated cancer bed with 24 (30%) in outlying non-oncology wards. The mean length of stay was 29.3 days. Possible alternatives to admission were identified for 15 (19%) patients. There was no evidence of discharge planning for 50 (60%) admissions. There is considerable potential to make more appropriate utilisation of UHG for cancer patients, particularly in terms of reducing bed days and length of stay and the proportion of emergency cancer admissions, and further developing integrated systems of discharge planning.