HC Deb 15 September 2004 vol 424 c1645W
Mr. Burstow

To ask the Secretary of State for Health when Towards cleaner hospitals and lower rates of infection: A summary of action was commissioned; when it was signed off and ready for publication; and when it was decided to publish it. [185798]

Miss Melanie Johnson

We have an ongoing programme of work on infection control and hospital cleanliness, informed by advice from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and the Chief Nursing Officer, which has produced publications such as the CMO's Getting Ahead of the Curve and Winning Ways. A summation of this work was commissioned by the Secretary of State on 1 July 2004 to improve public understanding of what was being done. The Secretary of State approved a final text of Towards Cleaner Hospitals and Lower Infection Rates on 9 July 2004 and the document was published and posted on the Department's website on 12 July 2004.

Clive Efford

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to ensure that the same(a) methods and (b) criteria are used to detect MRSA in all acute hospitals and in each department within those hospitals. [187065]

Miss Melanie Johnson

The detection and identification of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in samples is set out in the Bacteriology Standard Operating Procedures (BSOP) issued by the Health Protection Agency. All National Health Service laboratories accredited by Clinical Pathology Accreditation (UK) must have in place standard operating procedures that are based on, or give equivalent results to these BSOP Standards.

Patients who develop infection will have samples taken as part of their clinical care but trusts will also carryout screening for MRSA infection and colonisation. The NHS is recommended to use the report of a working party of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, the Hospital Infection Society, and the Infection Control Nurses Association, published in 1998. This gives guidance on which patients should be screened for infection or colonisation by MRSA but policies will need to take account of local circumstances.