§ Mr. Burstow
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the implications of hospital acquired infections for delayed discharge rates; and what representations he has received from care homes refusing to take residents from NHS trusts who have MRSA. 
§ Jacqui Smith
[holding answer 13 February 2003]: Data on the impact of hospital acquired infections on discharge from hospital are limited. However, it is estimated 1 that patients who acquire an infection in hospital remain in hospital on average an extra 11 days.
We have not received evidence that refusal to take patients because of methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a significant problem. MRSA is not a contraindication to admission to a residential or nursing home and a Department of Health leaflet, entitled "MRSA—What nursing and residential homes need to know", provides advice on this topic.
1. The Socio-economic Burden of Hospital Acquired Infection PHLS1999, also available at www. doh.gov.uk/ha/costs, htm