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MRSA Screening

Volume 454: debated on Wednesday 13 December 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what her policy is on screening of patients and staff for MRSA agents prior to entering hospital. (107767)

On 16 November 2006, the Department published enhanced advice on screening patients at risk prior to, or on admission to hospital and in particular clinical circumstances. It advises trusts to review their strategies for screening and decolonisation of patients with MRSA carriage immediately. The advice includes a number of scenarios for local consideration, where the risk of infection can be reduced through screening and/or decolonisation of patients at relatively high risk.

Recommendations on staff screening for MRSA were published in May 2006 in the ‘Journal of Hospital Infection’, as part of updated guidance on prevention and control of MRSA. This was produced by a working party on MRSA1 at the Department’s request. Routine screening of staff for MRSA carriage is not recommended practice. However, screening may be advised by the local infection control team, when there are particular epidemiological features to indicate that staff may be the source of linked cases of MRSA infection.

Copies of the source documents containing the advice/recommendations referred to above have been placed in the Library.

1 Joint Working Party of the British Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, the Hospital Infection Society, and the Infection Control Nurses Association on MRSA.