§ Mr. Nigel Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list for each health authority area(a) the number of infections with and (b) the number of deaths attributable to MRSA in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available. 
§ Mr. Denham
Aggregate data on numbers of incidents of methicillin resistantStaphylococcus aureus (MRSA) voluntarily submitted by National Health Service trusts for specialist microbiological tests since 1996 are shown in the table. These data are routinely available on a regional basis only. Data on Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemias (blood infections) showing the proportion resistant to methicillin in England and Wales are published quarterly by the Public Health Laboratory Service in the Communicable Disease Report, copies of which are available in the Library. More comprehensive information about bacteraemias, including MRSA, will be collected from all acute trusts from 1 April 2001 and data will be published from 1 April 2002.
There are no centrally held statistics on deaths caused by hospital acquired infections (HAI), including MRSA. Different doctors will have different views on the role of HAI in a patient's death as MRSA infection can take the form of many different diseases from trivial skin infection to pneumonia or septicaemia. In addition, the causative micro-organism is often not specified on the death certificate.
Incidents of MRSA 1996–2000 Incidents of MRSA 1996 1997 1998 Anglia and Oxford 237 297 223 North Thames 539 544 289 North West 176 259 215 Northern and Yorkshire 150 224 202 South and West 206 254 101 South Thames 421 385 220 Trent 99 123 109 West Midlands 121 102 69 Wales 158 176 169 Total 2,107 2,364 1,597
Incidents of MRSA 1999 2000 Eastern 80 30 London 290 100 Northern and Yorkshire 170 40 North West 180 50 South East 170 60 South West 40 10 Trent 100 30 West Midlands 30 30 Wales 130 30 Total 1,190 380
1. For 1996 and the first half of 1997 data have been amalgamated to the approximate boundaries of the new Regional Office areas. This allows for comparison with subsequent years.
2. An incident is three or more patients infected or colonised by the same strain of MRSA in the same month from the same hospital.
3. The criteria for submission of isolates of MRSA (and other isolates of staphylococcus aureus) to the PHLS for specialist tests have been revised twice since 1996 (in January 1998 and in January 2000).
4. These revised criteria have led to a fall in the number of incidents of MRSA that were reported to the PHLS.