DEADLY hospital infections have QUADRUPLED in a year with 1,000 new cases a week, it is claimed.
The troubling figures were revealed as a leading health boss warned that the country “risked putting medicine back in the dark ages” unless swift action is taken.
According to The Mirror, hospital infections shot up last year from 24,800 in 2012/13 and 11,000 in 2009/10 to 48,800 in 2017.
More than 2,500 people are now dying every year following a rise in once-treatable bloodstream infections.
In a report published this week, Public Health England said that more than three million surgeries and cancer treatments could become deadly without working antibiotics.
For decades these have been relatively safe thanks to precautionary prophylactic antibiotics.
But the operations have become increasingly resistant to bugs, as bacteria and other pathogens develop resistance to medicines used to attack them through spontaneous genetic mutation and natural selection.
Of more than nine million surgical procedures carried out in England every year, three million require antibiotics prior to or during surgery to prevents infections.
Without antibiotics infections could double, and patients could be at serious risk.
Prof Paul Cosford, medical director of PHE, said: “Antibiotics are an essential part of modern medicine, keeping people safe from infection when they are at their most vulnerable.
“It is concerning that, in the not-too distant future, we may see more cancer patients, mothers who’ve had caesareans and patients who’ve had other surgery facing life-threatening situations if antibiotics fail to ward off infections.”
And he urged that Brits should only use antiobiotics when they really need them, saying: “Taking antibiotics just in case may seem like a harmless act but it can have grave consequences for you and your family’s health in future.”
Chief medical officer for England, Professor Dame Sally Davies, added: “Without swift action, we are at risk of putting medicine back in the dark ages.”
MRSA Action UK charity chair Derek Butler added: “These infections shouldn’t be happening.
“The message I’d give ministers is, ‘If you think this battle is over, it’s not.’
“We have a bigger threat now than before because the bacteria have become more resistant to antibiotics.
“Sooner or later we won’t be able to treat anything.”
Andrea Jenkyns MP is one public figure who campaigns MRSA Action, ever since her father contracted the strain in 2011.
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She said he was put in isolation, but staff would come in and out without washing their hands or wearing gloves.
“I was shocked, but when I mentioned this to the head nurse, I was just stared at blankly. The standards of hygiene were appalling.”
The Department of Health and Social Care told The Mirror: “We have committed to tackling the issue through £360million in research since 2014 and we have already seen GPs are prescribing antibiotics 13% less than in 2013.”
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