Monday, 10 November 2008

Almost as many patients die from bedsores as MRSA



EXCLUSIVE: Toll from bed ulcers near 5,000 £2bn cost of treating victims

By Nigel Nelson Political Editor Nigel.Nelson@People.Co.Uk

Bed sores are today revealed as the NHS's hidden killer.

New figures show they have caused nearly 5,000 deaths over five years, almost as many as hospital superbug MRSA.

Now a campaign has begun to press Health Secretary Alan Johnson to act.

Lib Dem MP Paul Burstow obtained figures showing untreated pressure ulcers were a factor in the deaths of 4,708 patients.

By comparison MRSA, which has had a much higher profile, killed 6,200.

Ex-health spokesman Mr Burstow, who was approached by victims' families, said: "These painful and grotesque sores can cause premature death. It is vital there is a national prevention programme."

Sores develop when the blood supply is cut off and strike those who are immobile or cannot feel pain suchas the old and paralysed.

They destroy tissue, allowing infection to spread, but can be prevented by checking and turning patients.

Superman actor Christopher Reeve died from a pressure sore at 52 in 2004, nine years after breaking his neck horse-riding.

Hospitals do not have to report sores, so patients are NOT checked frequently enough and there is NO way of knowing where they are most at risk.

There are estimated to be 800,000 cases a year costing the NHS £2billion.

Now the campaign group Your Turn wants records to become mandatory to name the worst hospitals.

David Stonehouse, of Guisborough, North Yorks, complained to PM Gordon Brown after his father was killed by a sore.

The Health Department said: "We provide clear guidance to hospitals on prevention."

Source: People.co.uk