Skip to main content

Hospitals: Infectious Diseases

Volume 470: debated on Thursday 17 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cases of (a) MRSA infection and (b) clostridium difficile infection have been diagnosed in staff working in the NHS in each of the last three years. (174243)

The Health Protection Agency collects data on all cases of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections and cases of C. difficile infection in patients aged two and over in acute national health service trusts in England through the mandatory surveillance scheme but this does not include information about whether patients are also NHS staff.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what arrangements are in place for routine screening of NHS staff for (a) MRSA infection and (b) clostridium difficile. (174244)

Current guidance does not recommend routine screening of healthcare staff for either of these infections.

Universal screening of patients for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is being introduced because there is evidence that it can contribute to reducing MRSA infection rates. Expert advice is that routine screening of staff is not indicated, and therefore not recommended but may be used to help control or investigate an outbreak.

The current clinical evidence does not suggest that universal screening of staff for Clostridium difficile would be clinically, or cost, effective as individuals without symptoms are not considered to present an increased risk of infecting others.