How do we prevent infections at the hospital?

We are committed to providing a safe, clean environment that protects patients. This issue is especially important for us, as patients who are undergoing treatment for cancer may be more susceptible to developing an infection.

In order to minimise the risk to patients who come to The Royal Marsden, the Trust has a very strict policy for screening new patients for Meticillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and a Carbapenemase Producing Organism (CPO). MRSA is a bacteria that can be present on the skin without causing infection but can be a common cause of infections. A CPO is a bacteria that can be found living harmlessly in our guts however it can be a common cause of some infections like a urinary tract infection. A CPO bacteria is resistant to certain types of antibiotics. On registration or admission, this screening test ensures that we are aware of patients who carry MRSA and/or CPO before any admission so that they can be treated and reduce the risk of developing an infection.

The screening test is carried out by your clinic nurse and requires them to take a swab for MRSA from the inside of the nose, groin, armpit and throat. For a CPO test a swab is taken from inside the rectum, but a stool sample can also be supplied and that can be tested. If you have any concerns or questions about this test, or would like further details, please see the hospital information leaflet regarding MRSA or CPO or speak with your clinic nurse.

We have a dedicated team responsible for all aspects of infection prevention and control including:

  • Providing infection prevention and control information, education and advice to patients, visitors and all healthcare workers
  • Monitoring the cleanliness of equipment and the environment.

What you can do to help

  • Keeping your hands clean is one of the most important things you can do to help prevent infection. Please wash your hands or use the hand rub regularly and encourage your visitors to do the same, particularly on arriving and leaving
  • Always wash your hands after going to the toilet
  • If you are being cared for in a single room, your visitors should always ask the nursing staff before entering about what precautions to take
  • Ask visitors not to sit on the bed
  • Ask your relatives and friends not to visit if they are suffering from a cold, flu, stomach upset, rash or if they have had recent contact with an infectious disease, for example, chicken pox or measles, and particularly if they have had diarrhoea or vomiting in the last 48 hours
  • Supervise any children and do not allow them to touch any equipment
  • Please report any concerns or issues, in particular cleaning, to the Private Care Matron, your ward sister or contact the Infection Prevention and Control Team on 020 8661 3248.