Skip to main content

Hospitals: Infections

Volume 494: debated on Wednesday 17 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what further steps he plans to take to reduce levels of healthcare-associated infections. (279577)

The Department’s strategy for reducing healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) in the national health service is set out in “Clean, safe care”, which has already been placed in the Library.

In addition infection control is one of the top priorities in the NHS Operating Framework. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile targets to 2010-11 have been set under the Better Care for All Public Service Agreement. The NHS has met the 50 per cent. MRSA national reduction target. To follow this the National Quality Board is overseeing the development of a new minimum standard for MRSA, which will come into effect from April 2010.

All relevant elective admissions to hospitals are now screened for MRSA, and all emergency admissions will be by 2011. Other steps include a technology programme designed to accelerate the development and uptake of new technologies to improve infection control, the development of a new national standard for cleanliness in the NHS, the expansion of the code of practice for the NHS on the prevention and control of healthcare associated infections to cover all care providers, and a new HCAI patient awareness campaign to be launched in the autumn.

These measures should support the NHS to meet their legal registrations requirements on infection control with the new Care Quality Commission, which has a range of enforcement powers to ensure high performance in infection control. All acute NHS trusts are inspected annually to assess compliance against these requirements.