§ Mr. Burstow
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many care homes refused to admit NHS patients due to the contraction of(a) MRSA and (b) other hospital acquired infections, in the last year for which figures are available; 
(2) what steps his Department is taking to ensure that older people are not discharged from hospital into care homes with hospital acquired infections. 
§ Ms Blears
We are committed to tackling hospital acquired infections and have set standards to ensure that there is a managed environment that minimises the risk of infection to patients, staff and visitors. These standards are now supported by the inclusion of infection control procedures and a methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) improvement score in the national health service performance management system for 2002–03. In addition, a targeted action plan for healthcare associated infection is being developed as part of our strategy against infectious diseases, "Getting Ahead of the Curve".
Hospital acquired infections range from the serious to the trivial. Although it is good practice1 to assess residents for risk of infection on admission an infection is not necessarily a contraindication for admission. For example, if basic good hygiene precautions are followed, individuals with MRSA are not a risk to other residents, staff or visitors and should not be excluded.
There are no centrally held statistics on care homes and the admission of patients with MRSA or other hospital acquired infections.1"Guidelines on the Control of Infection in Residential and Nursing homes"—Public Health Medicine Environmental Group 1996.