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GPs face MRSA screening burden

By Lilian Anekwe

GPs have been warned that they will be expected to manage increasing numbers of complex resistant infections following the introduction of pre-operative MRSA screening.

The Departments of Health in England and Scotland both pledged last month that from 1 April every patient admitted to hospital for elective surgery would first have to be screened for MRSA.

Patients found to be colonised with MRSA will be returned to the community without being operated on, and those who refuse to be tested may not get surgery at all.

But up to 12 million people undergo planned operations on the NHS each year, and GPs in areas that have already introduced MRSA screening are warning of a significant hike in workload, with little guidance and scant reimbursement.

Minutes from Kent LMC reveal that the committee has received complaints that work is being moved to general practice from hospitals.

It has advised members: ‘There have been no discussions with the LMC to agree any alternative arrangements and until agreements are reached practices should not take on this additional work.'

Elsewhere, Dr Paul Roblin, chief executive of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire LMCs, has demanded enhanced service funding from PCTs in the Thames Valley.

He told Pulse: 'The national initiative for pre-operative MRSA screening in hospital is bouncing the workload to general practice. The workload is potentially vast.

‘All over the Thames Valley, I'm getting reports of work being bounced to GPs. It might be reasonable to ask general practice to take on part of that workload, but only if its funded, or part of core services.'

MRSA: GPs are facing bigger workload MRSA: GPs are facing bigger workload

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