HC Deb 11 March 1997 vol 292 cc163-5W
Mr. Simon Hughes

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the number of beds and wards closed, and admissions and operations postponed or cancelled, as a result of outbreaks of MRSA in the last year. [18712]

Mr. Horam

The information requested is not held centrally.

Mr. Corbett

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will call for a report on the recent incidence of MRSA among patients at Walsgrave hospital, Coventry, school in Nottinghamshire the number of pupils and cost of the assisted places scheme for the last three years for which figures are available. [19735]

Mrs. Gillan

The information requested is given in the following table:

Assisted places scheme in Nottinghamshire
School name Academic year 1993–94 1994–95 1995–96
Nottingham High School Number of assisted pupils 170 171 174
Cost of places £000s 445 466 498
Nottingham High School for Girls (GPDST) Number of assisted pupils 210 204 197
Cost of places £000s 514 526 529
Worksop College Number of assisted pupils 25 25 27
Cost of places £000s 113 122 131

Mr. Tracey

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if she will make a statement about the level of parental contributions to the fees of pupils in the assisted places scheme in the next academic year. [20007]

Mrs. Gillan

Remission of tuition fees under the assisted places scheme is dependent on the level of fees at participating schools and the amount parents can afford to contribute. Subject to parliamentary approval of regulations to be laid in due course, the parental contribution scales will be adjusted for the school year 1997–98 to allow for inflation, so that the cost to parents remains broadly the same in real terms. Where the relevant income for the appropriate financial year does not exceed £10,135, the tuition fees will be wholly remitted so that the pupil receives a free place. The new scales are set out in the following table.

with particular reference to the manner in which the hospital has complied with the 1986 national guidelines on MRSA infection control systems. [19596]

Mr. Horam

Guidance on the control of methicillin-resistant staphylococcos aureus in hospitals was issued in September 1994 and work is currently underway to revise the guidance. The hon. Member may wish to contact Mr. Gary Reay, chairman of the Walsgrave Hospitals NHS trust for information on the local application of these guidelines.

Mr. Mackinlay

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate he has made of the cost of screening all hospital patients for MRSA; [19888]

(2) what assessment he has made of the factors which have led (a) some hospitals to screen for MRSA and (b) others not to. [19852]

Mr. Horam

Cost-effective strategies for screening are outlined in the guidelines on control of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus which were issued to the NHS in 1994 under cover of EL(94)74. Implementation of screening policies is for local determination based on local circumstances.

Mr. Mackinlay

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what antibiotics are available to combat MRSA; and how many hospitals currently hold supplies of these. [19845]

Mr. Horam

Antibiotics effective in combatting methicillin-resistent staphylococcus aureus will be dependant on the particular strain of MRSA. Two of the strains associated with a large number of MRSA occurrences can be combated by a number of antibiotics such as rifampicin, fusidic acid and tetracycline. The glycopeptide antibiotics—vancomycin and teicoplanin—are effective against all strains of MRSA. The range of antibiotics held by hospitals and the control over their use are a matter for local decision.

Mr. Flynn

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the cost to the NHS of treating those infected with MRSA in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [19862]

Mr. Horam

MRSA infection can take the form of many different diseases from trivial skin infections to pneumonia or septicaemia. No estimates have been made of the costs of treating MRSA nationally.

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