HC Deb 10 January 2000 vol 342 cc53-4W
Mr. Hammond

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of control of infection procedures in hospitals in England and Wales; and if he will make a statement on the standards set for such procedures in hospitals in other EU member states. [99892]

Yvette Cooper

We are determined to make sure that the National Health Service tackles the problem of hospital acquired infection. A review of infection control arrangements in all acute NHS Trusts has recently been undertaken by Regional Epidemiologists which will be used to improve services locally as appropriate. The emphasis the Government places on infection control in the NHS is reflected in the National Priorities Guidance 1999–2000 to 2001–02. This sets out the need to ensure that appropriate arrangements for the control of infection are in place. Health Service Circular 1999–049 (Resistance to Antibiotics and other Antimicrobial Agents, issued in March 1999) also addresses the need to strengthen prevention and control of communicable disease and infection control processes. On 22 November the Minister of State, Department of Health, my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. Denham), launched new risk management and organisational control standards for the NHS including standards for hospital infection control. Compliance with these is the responsibility of chief executives and NHS trust board members.

The problem of infection control is a major concern at European level. A Commission resolution was agreed in June this year which cited infection control as an important part of the battle against antibiotic resistance. Within Europe hospital infection control arrangements vary from member state to member state and details are not held centrally.

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