The Tasmanian Liberals have called for full transparency on hospital infection rates following the release of new data yesterday showing 25,766 bed days were lost in Tasmanian public hospitals as a result of infections.
Lost bed days has a huge impact in terms of accessing hospital care and elective surgery.
The data shows 8% of hospitalised patients will acquire an infection during their hospital stay, and some of those infections will be life threatening. For example, around 25% people who contract Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia will die from that infection.
Other infections can cause ongoing illness and impairment, and financial stress for families impacted by lengthy recovery times.
Recent national research indicates the financial cost to the healthcare system is in lost bed days, with those contracting infections remaining in hospital 2.5 times longer, and those with surgical site infections often requiring re-admission.
Hospital infections are a critical public health issue and therefore should be subject to absolute transparency and vigorous prevention strategies.
We know from the data released yesterday that MRSA infections at Hospital A have doubled, the rate of Clostridium difficile is higher at Hospital A, and there are significant regional variation in infection rates, but the hospitals involved in the survey are not named, nor is it clear whether rural hospitals are included in surveillance.
Naming the hospitals with worsening infection rates is not about shaming, but about transparency, ensuring public trust, allowing patient choice, promoting accountability and learning from those hospitals who are doing well in this area.
A current online poll at – overwhelming supports naming hospitals and placing hospital infection rates in the public domain.
Brett Whiteley MP Shadow Minister for Health and Human Services