An Ear, Nose and Throat Consultant and Clinical Lead for Obstructive Sleep Apnoea at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust are leading a great innovation in relation to copper and infection control in a hospital setting.
From the first week in September, copper based beds, chairs, door handles and other surfaces will be introduced in the sleep clinic at the Bostonian, Pilgrim Hospital, Boston.
Mr Michael Oko has been researching into whether copper surfaces kill bacteria such as norovirus and MRSA. The research in the USA in intensive care units has proven that using copper surfaces can reduce infection by 58%. If you develop a hospital acquired infection you spend an extra 19 days in hospital, have a 6 fold chance of dying and a 250% chance of being readmitted within 30 days and it costs an extra equivalent of $ 43,000!
Along with reduced chance of infection, the copper surfaces come with other benefits including a one-off cost which can see the investment returned within two months. The sleep clinic patients are often compromised with multiple medical conditions (diabetes, obesity, hypertension etc.) where susceptibility of infection could be high.
Mr Oko said, “This is an example of the more creative solutions which can be used to prevent patients from needing to rely on antibiotics to cure infection. This comes as Prime Minister David Cameron and the Chief Medical Officer have announced that more needs to be done to combat the antibiotic resistance.
The copper units have been funded through the sleep clinic’s charitable funds which will then be matched by Mr Oko himself. The unit is looking for sponsors or donations to help to expand the copper surfaces further into the hospital.
This could be done through sponsoring a specific piece of equipment or by simply making a donation to the unit.