One in twenty Danish accident and emergency patients carries resistant bacteria

Five percent of patients – or every 20th person – at emergency rooms in Danish hospitals carry resistant strains of bacteria, according to a report.

One in twenty Danish accident and emergency patients carries resistant bacteria
File photo: Henning Bagger / Ritzau Scanpix

National public service broadcaster DR reported the conclusion of an analysis of eight accident and emergency wards in four administrative regions across Denmark.

“I think this is so many that we need to be alert in order to stop it spreading at hospitals, as well as in society,” professor and consultant doctor Christian Backer Mogensen of South Jutland Hospital, one of the researchers who worked on the study, told DR.

The results of the research are an “eye opener” which demand action, according to Mogensen.

Researchers in Denmark have not previously conducted studies of this type on resistant bacteria prevalence.

Resistant bacteria are defined as types which do not respond to treatment with normal forms of antibiotics.

That makes treatment of certain conditions and diseases more difficult, for example in cases of urinary tract infection,

“We would be there not knowing which antibiotic to use. Perhaps we have one left in the drawer, perhaps we don’t have any,” Mogensen told DR.

Research institute Staten Serum Institut (SSI) said it was monitoring the proliferation of resistant bacteria.

One cause of the issue is over-prescription of antibiotics, according to the organization’s consultant doctor Ute Wolff Sönksen.

“Fundamentally things look good, but there is an increase in use at hospitals, partly because there is such intensive treatment at hospitals today,” Sönksen told Ritzau.

Doctors have become more restrictive about prescribing antibiotics in recent years, but there is still room for improvement, she continued.

“You must begin by choosing the type of antibiotic that can save life. But then you must reduce the use of antibiotics once you know exactly what condition the patient has. That can be done even better than it is now,” she said.

But the extent of antibiotic resistance in Denmark is similar to that in the other Nordic countries, according to Sönksen.

The World Health Organization has estimated that, in 15-20 years’ time, multi-resistant bacteria will be a bigger killer than cancer.

READ ALSO: Breast cancer checks may have been inadequate for 300 women at Danish hospital

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Danish government reaches agreement on ‘1,000 nurses’ plan

The government has reached agreement with health authorities on how to fulfil an election pledge to increase the number of nurses in the country’s public health system by 1,000.

Danish government reaches agreement on '1,000 nurses' plan
Photo: Linda Kastrup/Ritzau Scanpix

The government agreed with Danish Regions, the interest organisation for the country’s five regional health authorities, a deal to ensure that 1,000 more nurses will arrive in 2021, as promised in December’s budget.

500 of the nurses are to be found this year.

“The agreement means a significant and specified effort in relation to nurses at hospitals, which we will follow up to ensure that we reach the target of 1,000 more nurses,” finance minister Nicolai Wammen said.


The Danish Nurses' Organization (Dansk Sygeplejeråd) supports the deal, Ritzau reports.

The Social Democratic minority government reached in December an agreement with allied parties to provide 300 million kroner this year and 600 million kroner annually from next year to hire more nurses.

The purpose of that investment is to employ a total of 1,000 more nurses by next year, with the first 500 to be found in 2020.

Danish Regions will set in motion a number of measures aimed at achieving those objectives, including getting hospital staff to go from part-time to full-time, and all new positions being full-time.

In addition, better introductory courses will be introduced for new graduates, while practical elements of nursing degrees will be changed in an effort to reduce the drop-out rate of the programmes.

“On behalf of both patients and employees, I am pleased that this agreement ensures funding for more hands at hospitals,” Danish Regions chairperson Stephanie Lose said.

“This will improve treatment for patients and the working environment on the wards. However, recruitment is a major challenge as there is not a great deal of unemployment amongst nurses, which is also the case for other staff groups,” Lose added.

“I am therefore very pleased that we are in agreement with the professional organizations [unions, ed.] on a joint effort to get more people to go full-time, as this will also contribute to increasing workforce,” she added.