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Hospitals: Infections

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 29 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research her Department has undertaken on the relationship between hospital lengths of stay and hospital acquired infection. (130076)

Length of stay was one of the factors considered in a report by Public Health Laboratory Service: Plowman, Rosalind et al and is available at:

www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_4089724

This found that patients who acquired an infection in hospital remained in hospital longer than uninfected patients. On average an infection resulted in an extra 11 days in hospital.

The Department is also working on a desk analysis aimed at studying links between hospital level methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) rates and a variety of factors relating to hospital policy, management and patient mix. One of the variables included is an aggregate average length of stay measure for inpatients in each trust. This will test whether, other things being equal, hospitals whose patients have long lengths of stay tend to have higher MRSA rates than hospitals with shorter lengths of stay. The report is being peer reviewed and will be published later this year.

The mandatory surveillance of health care associated infections report 2006, available in the Library and at www.hpa.org.uk/infections/topics_az/hai/mandatory_report_2006.htm, provides information on acquisition and length of stay.