§ Paul Flynn
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what changes have taken place in the number of deaths from MRSA in each of the past nine years; and what changes in the number of deaths he expects to occur in the next three years. 
§ Ruth Kelly
I have been asked to reply.
The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.
Letter from Colin Mowl to Paul Flynn, dated 15 September 2003:621WThe National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent question asking what changes have taken place in the number of deaths from MRSA in each of the past nine years; and what changes in the number of deaths are expected to occur in the next three years. I am replying in his absence. (129237)Information on deaths from MRSA is not routinely available but a recent research study published in the British Medical Journal identified the number of death certificates that mentioned MRSA as the underlying cause of death or as a contributory cause for the years 1993–1998. The table below gives figures from the study for these years.
Number of deaths where MRSA was mentioned as the underlying or a contributory cause of death, England and Wales, 1993–98 Number of deaths 1993 47 1994 88 1995 187 1996 290 1997 377 1998 398
The Office for National Statistics is currently in the process of updating this study to cover the period 1999–2002. The results of this analysis will be published next year.
It is impossible to put a firm figure to the number of people who die from MRSA because people are often very sick with a number of other conditions so the contribution of MRSA to the outcome in any particular case is uncertain. In addition, the underlying cause of death is most often the disease or injury which led them to be admitted to hospital, rather than the MRSA which may have complicated the course of the illness.
It is not possible to predict what the figures will be for the next three years.