Care staff passed on MRSA - claim

A terminally ill man has contracted a potentially deadly superbug despite not having been to hospital - and his upset daughter believes that care staff passed it on to him.

A terminally ill man has contracted a potentially deadly superbug despite not having been to hospital - and his daughter believes that care staff passed it on to him.

Ernest Jarvis, 97, suffers from chronic lung disease as well as heart failure and kidney failure. His daughter Suzan has fought to keep him alive and moved him into her home in Lyng, where he needs 24-hour care.

She believes that she was doing her best for him by keeping him out of hospital - but was horrified to discover that he had been infected with the superbug MRSA. The bacteria is carried by about one in three people, but if it gets in through a break in the skin it can cause serious infections. It is often associated with hospitals, but Mr Jarvis had not been in hospital for five years.

His daughter said: "I believe it is the care staff who brought the MRSA in. They haven't been trained properly to deal with it. One of them told me they were caring for someone else with MRSA. The staff asked if they could have an MRSA test, and were told by Allied there was no point as they 'would probably be carrying it anyway'.


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"The MRSA has got into his bedsores. It is very upsetting for him. Any change in his environment upsets him and he cannot understand why we are all wearing gloves and aprons and do not want to touch him. The staff work very hard, and I do not blame them. It is distressing for them when they have been doing all they can to keep him alive."

Mrs Jarvis, 46, was also carrying the bug, which she believes she must have caught from her fathert.

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One Allied care worker, who did not want to be named, said: "A lot of the places we are sent to have MRSA. Some of the staff have never been in care work before and don't know anything about it. There should be more training."

A spokesman for Allied Healthcare said: "Allied Healthcare follows a strict local and company policy with regard to infection control according to best practice. All our staff receive training in this regard and are regularly supervised by nursing staff while at their placements. We take the utmost care when it comes to our clients' health."

Martin Langdon, head of continuing care for NHS Norfolk, said most continuing care in the county was provided by the private sector, of which Allied was the biggest provider. He said: "We do have a very tight contract with Allied which specifies that none of the carers is put in place before they are properly trained."

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