Skip to main content

Hospitals: Infectious Diseases

Volume 507: debated on Tuesday 9 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cases of infection per (a) 1,000 hospital bed days and (b) 1,000 patients admitted to hospital there were in 2005. (320828)

Information on all infections is not collected centrally. However, data on the main infections covered by mandatory surveillance, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) blood stream infections and Clostridium difficile infections, are given in the following table.


Clostridium difficile (65 years or older)2

Number of cases reported



Cases of infection per 1,000 bed days



Cases of infection per 1,000 admissions



1 Data on MRSA cases, bed days (KH03) and admissions are for the 2005-06 financial year.

2 Based on 2005 calendar year. Prior to April 2007, C. difficile data were only collected for those aged 65 and over. Bed days are from Hospital Episode Statistics. The number of C. difficile cases and rates were based on data from 171 of 173 trusts, as complete data are not available for two trusts.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information his Department collects on numbers of (a) hospital-acquired infections and (b) patients entering hospitals with infections. (320829)

The mandatory surveillance system collects numbers of reports for the following pathogens that are usually considered healthcare associated infections and surgical procedures:

methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteraemias;

Clostridium difficile infections (CDI);

glycopeptide-resistant enterococci (GRE) bacteraemias; and

selected orthopaedic surgical site infections (SSIs).

It is not easy to ascertain where an infection has been acquired and these datasets include both infections acquired in hospital and in other settings. However, the MRSA and CDI system now allows for indirect identification of cases that may have been acquired within the reporting trust by calculating the elapsed time between a patient’s admission date and specimen date.

While MRSA bacteraemias and CDI present on admission can be identified, a proportion of these are likely to be associated with a previous hospital admission.