Staph infection rate high at Calvary Mater hospital

THE Hunter’s second biggest hospital has recorded higher rates of the potentially deadly golden staph infection than any other hospital in Australia.
Nanjing Night Net

The Calvary Mater Newcastle Hospital had 15 cases of staph in 2013/14, at a rate of 2.48 cases per 10,000 bed stays.

There were 43 cases at the John Hunter Hospital, the third highest number of cases recorded at a major hospital nationally but with rate of 1.61 per 10,000 bed stays, it fell below the benchmark limit of 2 per 10,000 bed stays.

The results, released by the National Health and Performance Authority on Thursday, highlight the fact that patients are up to three times more likely to catch the bloodstream infection depending on the hospital where they receive care.

Estimates suggest that up to one in three people who experience healthcare-associated Golden Staph, otherwise known as Staphylococcus aureus, die from it or a related cause.

Maitland Hospital recorded an infection rate of 1.52 per 10,000 bed stays, against the peer average of 1.15.

The director of clinical services at the Calvary Mater Newcastle, Roslyn Everingham, said the report must be read in context.

‘‘Calvary Mater Newcastle cares for a very high proportion of highly vulnerable patients with compromised immune systems, which puts them at greater risk of infection,’’ she said.

One-third of the hospital’s acute patients are oncology patients, and three-quarters of the reported cases involved medical oncology or haematology patients, she said.

‘‘Of the 15 reported cases, eight were admitted to the hospital as inpatients with the others receiving care as outpatients.’’

The hospital had worked hard to lower rates of infection, she said.

‘‘Calvary Mater Newcastle has a rigorous policy of surveillance testing, which highlights early signs of infection to allow prompt intervention and lessens the risk of morbidity and mortality.’’