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Infection rates in private hospitals

Hospital infection guide - hospital beds

According to Bupa Insurance, access to cleaner hospitals is now why sixty five percent of people are taking out medical insurance.  Certainly, treatment in a private hospital or clinic significantly reduces a patient's chance of contracting a hospital acquired infection.  Independent hospitals have lower bed occupancy, nursing staff are under less pressure and patients mostly have their own private rooms with en-suite bathrooms so the risk of cross-infection is substantially reduced.  Furthermore, in independent hospitals a higher nurse-to-patient ratio ensures a higher quality of care, and with more staff resources private hospitals can operate a thorough room cleaning system.  Private hospitals can also afford a robust infection surveillance programme and ongoing staff training so that the medical team does their utmost to minimise infections. Private hospitals are able to carry out effective isolation procedures if they find a patient is an MRSA carrier.


As with NHS hospitals, independent hospitals must report their hospital acquired infection rates to the Healthcare Commission and the Independent Healthcare Forum, the independent sector's advisory board has an Infection Control Group, publishing records of infection rates in the private sector, as follows:


For hip replacements the UK independent sector infection rates range from 0.98 per cent for low risk patients to 1.99 per cent for high risk patients. Comparable rates from elsewhere (UK and internationally) range to over 5 per cent.  UK independent sector knee replacement infection rates are in line with those found elsewhere ranging from 0.56 per cent to 1.24 per cent and hysterectomy rates ranged from 0.74 per cent to 2.8 per cent.  Elsewhere rates ranged from 1.4 per cent to 11 per cent.


The leading UK private hospital providers, including BMI, Bupa and Nuffield, all claim to have low hospital acquired infection records, experiencing only a few HAI cases each year, none of which are considered life-threatening.  The Portland Hospital, for example, confirms it has had zero cases of MRSA (as at 7 March 2007), during the course of a year.  BUPA Hospitals who publish performance information about each hospital reported zero cases of MRSA blood infections across all of their hospitals in 2006.  HCA Hospitals have collected data since 1997 for all of their hospitals and in 2005 surgical site infection rates for knee replacements and hysterectomies at HCA hospitals was zero.

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