Published: 14/07/2005, Volume II5, No. 115 Page 21

Bev Reilly, lead nurse, infection prevention and control, North Tees primary care trust

Having read your recent article 'Can the law help Hewitt take MRSA to the cleaners?' and watched Live 8 over the weekend, two startling smacks of reality come to light (news analysis, pages 14-15, 30 June).

First, stop talking about it.

Second, start doing something!

I am sure Sir Bob Geldof is, like many human beings, in despair at such appalling sights 20 years on from the birth of Live Aid. Likewise, 57 years since the birth of the NHS, many infection prevention and control practitioners can articulate similar despair.

The problem is that we are trying to put right a problem that has been so wrong for so many years.

Infection prevention and control only came to the recognisable forefront of the NHS post-2000.

Prior to then, it was not high on political agendas. What has driven it forward are the public and the media. We have been back-pedalling ever since.

And their answer? Prosecute them, fine them, send out another audit and monitor them - that will make the public feel better. And send out another strategy to make the politicians feel they are actually doing something.

The reality is captured in your article: 'The DoH says there are no plans to reduce bed occupancy rates, or to launch recruitment drives for cleaners or infection control nurses.' Now here is where the déjà vu with Sir Bob Geldof hits. See you in 20 years time.