Queen’s Hospital in Romford is "leading the way" with re-introducing treatment to tackle bacterial resistance to drugs.

Nurses have found a way to prevent bacteria becoming resistant that reduces the efficiency of the medicines given to patients.

They have reintroduced an earlier practice of “flushing” the drip-feed where a saline solution is “rinsed” through the intravenous line.

This forces any remaining medicine into the vein, making sure patients get the full dose of antibiotics to speed recovery.

A spokesperson for Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT), which runs the hospital, said: "We’re leading the way in reducing antimicrobial resistance... by reintroducing the practice of flushing our intravenous lines."

The practice was dropped when infusion pumps first developed in the 1960s were later introduced in the NHS to generate fluid flow at high pressure, deemed safer for patients.

The trust’s head of anaesthetics and theatre nursing, Ruth Dando, piloted the return to the practice of ‘flushing’ after a meeting she had with a medical healthcare company that revealed how antibiotic “under-dosing” was risking drug resistance and delaying patients’ recovery from infections.

“We didn’t have infusion pumps when I started out 40 years ago,” Ruth said. “But ensuring we give patients a full dose every time means we can now reduce the risk of bacterial resistance and get patients better quicker.”

Infusion pumps that regulate medicine flow are said to be safer for patients, she explained, but it has meant losing the practice of flushing.

“This is remedied by using the setting which allows flushing,” Ruth added. “It’s a simple process which doesn’t need new skills.

“You throw away around 16 per cent of the drugs without flushing, which is ‘under-dosing’ antibiotics to patients.”

Ruth, who spoke at the Infection Prevention Control conference in Birmingham in April, has been asked to share her expertise with other hospitals around the country.

The NHS trust is among the first in London to return to the practice of flushing, it says.

The practice also reduces waste and environmental risks, the spokesperson added.

“It will also help us save money by reducing drug wastage and using less IV lines as once flushed, they are ready to be used again," Ruth said.