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Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus

Volume 491: debated on Thursday 23 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether personal anti-microbial products are supplied by the NHS to patients identified through screening to be carrying MRSA; (269985)

(2) what steps he expects NHS hospitals to take to decolonise patients found through screening to be carrying MRSA; and if he will make a statement;

(3) how many pre-operative patients he expects to be screened by the NHS for MRSA in the next 12 months; what estimate he has made of the cost per patient of such screening; and if he will make a statement.

As soon as a patient is identified as an MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) carrier, a decolonisation regimen should be started. This is normally the use of an antibacterial shampoo and body wash daily, and the application of an antibacterial nasal cream three times a day for five days supplied by the national health service.

It is for clinicians to decide on the most appropriate products for decolonisation and we do not collect information on the products used. However, the Department will be issuing guidance on products for decontamination later this year.

The current policy is to screen all elective patients, except for those in certain groups for whom the risk of MRSA infection is very low. We estimated that this would require around 6.3 million tests in 2009-10. Elective patients found to be positive for MRSA will receive decolonisation treatment. The total cost of screening those patients, and decolonising those with a positive screen, is estimated at £44 million, an average of £7.02 per patient.