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Volume 475: debated on Wednesday 14 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate his Department has made of the percentage changes in incidence of (a) MRSA and (b) clostridium difficile as a result of the deep cleaning programme; and over what timescale his Department expects such changes to be reflected in hospital infection statistics; (203400)

(2) by what means his Department will assess the effectiveness of its deep cleaning programme for hospitals in England in reducing cases of healthcare associated infections.

As set out by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State in his written ministerial statement on 17 January 2008, Official Report, columns 38-39WS, following completion of the deep clean of the national health service on 31 March 2008, the Department will work with strategic health authorities (SHAs) to draw up examples of where a deep clean has had a demonstrable effect in improving patient care and experience and will share these across the NHS.

SHAs will take the lead on evaluation locally as the impact of each trust’s programme will be different and no single measurement method will pick up all the benefits, particularly as trusts may be implementing a range of measures to improve cleanliness and tackle healthcare associated infections.

Improvements to patient experience and environment may be measurable through:

Patient Environment Action Team scores;

scores on national specifications for cleanliness;

compliance with the Code of Practice for the Prevention and Control of Healthcare Associated Infections;

compliance with the Department is national core standards;

Healthcare Commission inpatient survey scores; and

infection rates.

Deep cleaning is just part of a comprehensive range of measures to improve cleanliness and tackle infections set out in the Strategy “Clean, Safe Care: Reducing Infections and Saving Lives”. Copies of the Strategy are available in the Library.