DUBLIN, Ireland - The Irish government is to provide €7 million for antimicrobial resistance (AMR) measures in the health service, it was announced on Monday.
The funding will be used for infection prevention and control teams in both acute hospitals and community care settings this year. This includes €2 million allocated in 2018 and a further €5 million for 2019.
"This represents a significant step forward in funding our infection control teams in hospitals and community care settings," Minister for Health Simon Harris said Monday.
"Ireland is standing up and playing its part in tackling the global threat of AMR in our health services and in health services around the world. As the World Health Organisation has emphasised, managing the AMR crisis is of the utmost urgency and the Government is doing exactly that. We are building infection prevention and control teams both in hospitals and in the community to reduce the spread of infection and disease, enhance surveillance and optimise the use of antimicrobials such as antibiotics."
The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) was convened as a result of the activation of the Public Health Emergency Plan, on 25 October 2017, by the minister as a public health response to CPE in Ireland.
The purpose of the NPHET has been to provide advice, guidance, support and direction on the surveillance and management of CPE at national level.
Over the last eighteen months, a number of measures have been put in place and the Department of Health and the HSE say they will continue to work closely together on this.
"The NPHET sought to develop and implement a strategy to contain CPE. I am pleased to say that we have come a long way in overseeing the health system’s response to CPE. This funding is key to ensuring a sustainable response in Ireland to healthcare associated infections and antibiotic resistant organisms, including CPE," the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan who chaired the NPHET said Monday.
Throughout its work on this issue, the NPHET has implemented strong governance arrangements for healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) and AMR within the HSE. The NPHET has also driven enhanced surveillance of HCAIs and built capacity within the system for the challenges associated with these threats.
Many guidance documents have been developed by the Expert Group convened by the NPHET which provide expert advice to hospitals and the community health care services regarding actions that should be taken regarding CPE screening and control of spread of CPE.
The next phase of work focuses on the HSE implementation and operationalising of measures to address CPE and other HCAIs.
While the number newly diagnosed CPE patients has slightly increased, this is in the context of substantially increased screening activity over the past year. By screening and diagnosing more patients, we can ensure that CPE patients are managed more effectively in our hospitals, limiting its impact on fellow patients.
Through the work of the NPHET, hospitals have significantly enhanced their screening activities and this additional screening information has proven vital in allowing the NPHET to make informed decisions regarding CPE management.
"AMR is a significant challenge to medicine and society as a whole. Prevention of infection and appropriate management when it does occur is a cornerstone of patient safety," newly appointed Director of the National Patient Safety Office Marita Kinsella said Monday.