Our Services

Infection Prevention and Control

The role of the Infection Prevention and Control Team is to:-

  • Provide training to all South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust staff on infection control
  • Give advice to staff, patients and visitors when requested via the single point of contact line. (Please see below) 
  • Identify when an outbreak of infection is occurring and ensure steps are taken to prevent further spread of infection.
  • Collect and analyse audit and surveillance data from departments across the trust, to ensure good standards of  practice in infection control  are  maintained.
  • Prepare policies to inform staff how to prevent the spread of different infections.
  • Work with local commissioner groups to ensure infections reported within the trust are investigated and lessons learnt  & shared to improve practice.
  • Promote good hand washing.

Where is the service provided from?

The team are based within South Tyneside Hospital, the address is:

Infection Prevention Control Team

South Tyneside District Hospital

Harton Lane

South Shields

Tyne & Wear NE34 0PL  

Contact details

The team can be contacted on the Infection Prevention single point of contact phone line which is manned by qualified and experienced infection prevention control nurses.

Please call 0191 4041270 Monday to Friday 8.30 to 5pm

Further information  

How can you prevent spread of infections?

One of the simplest, but most effective ways to prevent infections spreading is ‘Good hand hygiene’ this means washing hands with warm water and soap, then drying thoroughly on a clean towel.

When should you wash your hands?

• When they look or feel dirty.

• After using the toilet.

• Before eating.

What is MRSA?

MRSA is short for Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. This is a type of bacteria that is resistant to some antibiotics.

What is MRSA colonisation?

The MRSA bacteria can be carried harmlessly in the nose or on the skin of healthy people (colonisation). People who are colonised have no signs or symptoms of infection and can be fit and well. However, colonisation may become a problem for those who are more vulnerable. For example, people recovering from illness or an operation, or those who have an invasive device, such as a catheter, may develop an infection due to this colonisation.

What is MRSA infection?

MRSA infection means the bacteria are causing the person to be ill. The severity of the infection can vary. Mild infection may cause redness, tenderness and inflammation of a wound site. However, it may also cause more serious infections, such as septicaemia (infection of the blood). MRSA infection can be treated with alternative antibiotics.

Why do we screen for MRSA?

Identifying patients with MRSA colonisation allows us to provide therapy to reduce the likelihood of developing an MRSA infection.

Who do we screen?

We would screen those patients with a history of MRSA and those patients who are admitted or planned to be admitted to a high risk speciality within our Trust. These high risk specialities are: Orthopaedic surgery and trauma, Intensive Therapy Unit & High Dependency unit, Coronary Care unit and Special Care Baby Unit.

How is the screening performed?

A swab will be taken from both nostrils, this involves a cotton bud swab being inserted into each nostril and rotated to obtain the sample. This does not hurt, but may feel a little uncomfortable. A further swab will be taken from both groins. Additional swabs may need to be taken for certain patient groups for example from a wound or catheter or other medical device. The healthcare worker taking the swabs will discuss this with you, if necessary. The swabs are then sent to the laboratory for testing.

What happens next?

The results of the swabs are usually available after 3-4 days. If your swabs are MRSA negative which means no MRSA was found, we will not contact you. However, these results will be recorded, so please feel free to ask about them on admission. If your swabs are MRSA positive which means MRSA was found, you will be contacted to arrange treatment. A nasal ointment should be applied three time’s day and special body foam should be used daily, after a shower or bath. The mouthwash should be used twice daily following tooth brushing. The therapy is for five days.

Will this delay my treatment?

Your admission to hospital should not be delayed by the MRSA screening, or following an MRSA positive result. Treatment which has already started will be continued. During your admission, your doctor may prescribe additional antibiotics.

What if I don’t want to be screened?

Screening will not be performed unless you give your consent. If you are at an increased risk of carrying MRSA, you will be presumed to be MRSA positive, and may be admitted to, and encouraged to remain in a side room for the duration of your stay. Your doctors may wish to prescribe additional antibiotics to reduce the risk of MRSA infection.

Locations for Infection Prevention and Control in South Tyneside:

South Tyneside District Hospital, South Shields, 0191 404 1270