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Hospitals: Infectious Diseases

Volume 481: debated on Tuesday 21 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South on 1 September 2008, Official Report, column 1714W, on hospitals: infectious diseases, what the average cost per healthcare associated infection case is in 2008-09 prices; and what the estimated cost for all in-patient admissions in (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2006-07 was using the Public Health Laboratory Service assumptions adjusted for inflation and in-patient numbers. (227506)

The Department does not routinely collect this information and no single definitive cost figure exists. However, a study by the Public Health Laboratory Service1 (PHLS) in 1999 estimated that hospital-acquired infections (HCAIs) cost the national health service £1 billion a year. This remains 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 the cost per in-patient episode in 1994-95 is equivalent to £87. A cost of £87 in 1994-95 would be equivalent to £137 in 2006-07 prices. It is not possible to provide a more up to date figure because calculations are based on standard pay and price deflators published by the Personal Social Services Research Unit in agreement with the Department. Deflators for 2007-08 are not yet available.

The answer to the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Hancock) on 1 September 2008, Official Report, column 1714W, reported a cost of around £4,300 per HCAI case. This analysis was based primarily on the PHLS report and figures were uprated using standard deflators. However, this figure was attributed to the wrong year, as the figure of £4,300 is appropriate for 2004-05 rather than 2003-04. The equivalent figure for 2006-07 is around £4,600.

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.