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Hospital infection rates in the NHS

Hospital infection guide - arrow on electronic numbers

If you would like to learn about hospital infections, and to see data relating to the incidence of hospital infections, the following information will interest you.


Latest figures (July 2007) from the Health Protection Agency show that rates of MRSA are now dropping.  The July figures show that the number of cases of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections of the blood fell in January to March 2007 compared with the previous quarter.  There were 1,444 cases of MRSA infections of the blood reported in England in January to March, compared with 1,542 in the previous quarter.  The full-year data shows there has been a 10 per cent drop in the number of MRSA cases.  For the entire year, April 2006 to March 2007 6,378 cases were reported, compared with 7,096 in the same period the previous year.


However, figures for the other hospital superbug; Clostridium difficile were 22% higher than in the previous quarter (October to December 2006) in patients aged more than 65 years.  In the first three months of this year, more than 15,590 people over the age of 65 were infected with Clostridium difficile, a 2 per cent rise on the same period last year.  There were a total of 55,634 cases of C.Diff in 2006.


The Health Protection Agency (HPA) publishes quarterly figures for the mandatory surveillance of MRSA bloodstream infections - and Clostridium difficile - as well as an annual Healthcare Associated Infection report once a year (next report due October 2007).  The Department of Health in England has statistics for each NHS hospital’s incidence of MRSA, calculated by how many patients catch MRSA for every night spent by a patient in a hospital bed and all NHS hospitals must report their MRSA rates to the Healthcare Commission. 


Patients can check with individual Trusts for their recent HAI rates, and see our section on Patient Choice, where as a patient you have the right to select which hospital or clinic you would like to be treated in, and what you can do to minimise your risk of contracting a HAI.

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