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GPs floundering over MRSA and C.difficile

By Lilian Anekwe

Current procedures to deal with resistant infections in the community are inadequate and leaving GPs potentially dangerously exposed, a Pulse survey has revealed.

The findings came as Government experts stepped up moves to focus on resistant infections in the community.

The Health Protection Agency announced plans to refine monitoring of C.difficile, just weeks after Pulse revealed the Department of Health is to establish a surveillance system for community-acquired MRSA.

In the new survey, conducted on behalf of Pulse by doctors' mobile communications firm Pearl Medical, more than 60% of GPs who responded said they felt inadequately trained to tackle the rise of resistant infections.

Of 300 GPs surveyed, 62% of respondents said they had not received adequate support from a PCT infection control team last time they had to deal with a case of MRSA or C. difficile.

GPs were even more unhappy with the support they received from their local Health Protection Agency laboratory.

And only 5.1% of GPs knew of specific services within their PCT for dealing with resistant infections ­ even though 60% of respondents said they had dealt with one in the past year.

Only 29% of respondents said enough was being done to tackle resistant infections in the community.

The results add to concerns revealed by Pulse in a special investigation last month, which found that staphylococcal infections had risen 90% in 10 years ­ and that GPs were often left struggling to cope.

Dr Htay Win, a GP in Manchester, told Pulse: 'I don't feel the currently available services for infection in the community are sufficient.

'Nursing home staff looking after a patient I had seen as an out-of-hours doctor did not know who to contact for help after an MRSA diagnosis.'

Dr Georgia Duckworth, head of the HPA's healthcare-associated infections department, said the agency planned to be 'a lot more refined' in how it collected data on C. difficile, to gauge how many cases were acquired in the community.

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