Staphylococcus aureus is a common bacterium often found on the skin and in the nose of healthy people. This is called "colonisation" or "carriage".  Some strains of Staphylococcus aureus are resistant to certain antibiotics, particularly meticillin and are known as MRSA (Meticillicin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus).

The majority of people who are colonised with MRSA will never get an infection.  Problems only begin to occur if MRSA gets into the body through cuts or wounds, or into a part of the body that is normally sterile, such as the bladder.

For those people who are vulnerable because they are already unwell or have injuries or sugical wounds, the risk of developing an infection is higher. This is why MRSA is taken seriously when people come into hospital. 

A comprehensive screening programme is in place to help identify those people who are already colonised.  Once identified, the MRSA can be easily treated with an antiseptic wash and nasal ointments as well as antibiotics.  This removes the MRSA, and thus reduces the risk of an infection developing while receiving treatment in hospital.

Organisms such as MRSA usually spread from person to person by direct contact.  The easiest way to stop the spread is by practising good hand hygiene.  We encourage our patients and visitors to wash their hands regularly, particularly after going to the toilet or before eating food.  Visitors should also make full use of the gel provided at the entrances to wards.

Due to the nature of their work, good hand hygiene for hospital staff is of prime importance to minimise infection.  Hand Hygiene standards are monitored regularly and we actively encourage our patients and visitors to ask staff if they have cleaned their hands.

Our MRSA Screening Policy