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National Patient Safety Agency

A pioneering patient safety initiative coming to a hospital near you soon

14 December 2009


A patient safety initiative which aims to reduce catheter associated bloodstream infections in intensive care units (ICUs) is about to be rolled out across England.


Matching Michigan is a two year project involving adult and paediatric ICUs and was introduced at 17 pilot units across the north east of England earlier this year.  It’s based on a model which, over an 18 month period, saved around 1,500 patient lives in Michigan by introducing measures that reduced central venous catheter (CVC) associated bloodstream infections.  This project aims to match the success of Michigan by taking the same actions to reduce infections and improve patient care in England.


Tomorrow evening (15 December), the National Patient Safety Agency will be holding a briefing for trusts to present an on-line data infection reporting tool that has been developed by safety experts for data collection and report on project developments.


Chaired by Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson, the event will hear from clinicians at the 17 pilot sites including South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust as well as experts from the U.S. project and those responsible for implementing the system in England.


Sir Liam Donaldson said:  “An estimated 200,000 central venous catheters (CVCs) are inserted in the UK each year.  Of these, approximately 6.2 per cent (12,400 cases) may be associated with bloodstream infections.


“Matching Michigan has proved to save a significant number of patient lives in America and I am delighted that we have had a positive response from trusts in this country to the scheme.”


NPSA’s Medical Director, Dr Kevin Cleary, said: “This is a quality improvement project that starts with collecting data to identify and measure infection rates.  In many cases, it’s the first time this type of data has been collected.


Establishing this data system is an important first phase of this project as it enables benchmarking and will demonstrate trends for reducing infection rates.”


Dr Cleary added: “Small scale, safety-focused changes that were identified by the Michigan project will be adapted by local units here, to fit with different environments for intensive care.  


“Once implemented, staff will be asked to go through a checklist each time they insert a catheter into a central vein.  This checklist contains reminders about the importance of a number of key evidence based steps that collectively reduce infection rates.  When successfully implemented, it will prevent harm to patients and reduce avoidable complications.  This will allow resources to be redirected towards other healthcare needs.”


Tricia Hart is Director of Nursing and Patient Safety at the South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – one of the eight trusts in the north east of England that is piloting this initiative. 


She said: “We are always looking at ways to improve our patient safety practices and the opportunity to link with an international programme was one we could not miss.

“To learn how other hospitals have dramatically reduced infection elsewhere is where we wanted to be and even though our rates of infection were low, we knew we could do better.


“On this programme it has been imperative there was Board support. Without this, clinical colleagues cannot change some of the services as quickly as possible.”


For more information about Matching Michigan, please visit www.nrls.npsa.nhs.uk




Note to editors:



  1. Media enquiries to the NPSA Press Office:

Simon Morgan – 020 7927 9580 / simon.morgan@npsa.nhs.uk

Dinah Lartey – 020 7927 9351 / dinah.lartey@npsa.nhs.uk

Out of hours – 0788 411 5956


  1. The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) is an Arm’s Length Body of the Department of Health. It encompasses three divisions; the National Research Ethics Service, the National Reporting and Learning Service and the National Clinical Assessment Service. Each has its own sphere of expertise to improve patient outcomes. The NPSA’s vision is to lead and contribute to improved, safe patient care by informing, supporting and influencing healthcare individuals and organisations. For more information visit: www.nrls.npsa.nhs.uk.