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Hospitals: Infectious Diseases

Volume 479: debated on Monday 1 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the average cost to the NHS is per in-patient of treating healthcare associated infections, including those who do not contract an infection; (216134)

(2) what the average cost to the NHS is of treating a patient with (a) MRSA, (b) clostridium difficile, (c) norovirus and (d) other healthcare-associated infections.

The Department does not routinely collect this information and no single definitive cost figure exists. However, a study by the Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS)1 in 1999 estimated that hospital-acquired infections (HCAIs) cost the national health service £1 billion a year. This is still the best available estimate of NHS costs, although based on data from 1994-95. There were 11.4 million in-patient episodes in 1994-95. This suggests that the cost of HCAIs in 1994-95 was equivalent to £87 per patient. A cost of £87 in 1994-95 would be equivalent to £137 in 2006-07 prices (applying standard deflators).

Estimates of the cost of treating specific infections are not available. The Department published a ‘HCAI productivity costing1’ tool in May 2006, which suggested a cost of around £4,300 per HCAI case in 2003-04. This analysis was based primarily on the PHLS report and figures were uprated to 2003-04 prices using standard deflators.


1 R. Plowman, N. Graves, M. Griffin, J. A. Roberts, A. V. Swan, B. Cookson, L. Taylor. The socio-economic burden of hospital acquired infection. Public Health Laboratory Service 1999.

2 Costing tool available on the Department's website at: