HC Deb 17 September 2004 vol 424 cc1982-4W
Andrew Mackinlay

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether the voluntary reporting system by hospitals of MRSA cases is still in place; [184415]

(2) how many MRSA cases were recorded by the Public Health Laboratory Service in each year from 1983; and if he will make a statement; [184416]

(3) what the percentage change in the incidence of MRSA was in each year since 1989; and if he will make a statement. [184424]

Dr. Ladyman

The voluntary reporting scheme is still operated by the Health Protection Agency and data on reported Staphylococcus aureus blood stream infections from 1990 to 2003 are shown in the table. The table includes the number of Staphylococcus aureus, the percentage of Staphylococcus aureus that are methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and the annual percentage increase in MRSA.

Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (blood stream) laboratory reports and methicillin susceptibility (voluntary reporting scheme):

England and Wales, 1990–2003

MRSA1 Percentage2 Percentage annual increase MSSA3 No information4 Total
1998 2,851 34 18 5,430 1,930 10,211
1999 3,332 37 17 5,584 1,884 10,800
2000 4,272 42 28 5,861 1,976 12,109
2001 5,090 42 19 7,035 1,364 13,489
2002 5,310 43 4 7,130 1,086 13,526
2003 5,658 41 7 8,022 1,151 14,831
1 MRS"methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infection.
2 As a percentage of reports with methicillin susceptibility information.
3 MSSA"methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infection.
4 No informations "no information on ancimicrobial susceptibility is available.
Health Protection Agency.

Andrew Mackinlay

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action has been taken to implement the guidelines for combating MRSA set out in the report of the working party headed by Mr.G. Duckworth since its publication in 1990; and if he will make a statement. [184420]

Miss Melanie Johnson

Decisions on implementation are made locally.

The working group is revising the guidance published in 1998. The group has three sub-groups dealing with prevention and control, prophylaxis and antibiotic therapy and laboratory diagnosis and susceptibility testing. Provisional reports are expected by the end of the year. The Department is funding a literature review to support the work of the group.

Andrew Mackinlay

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures he has instigated with the Chancellor of the Exchequer to ensure that(a) there is correct and consistent reporting of deaths caused by MRSA, or where it is a contributory factor and (b) death certificates are completed as directed by the Government. [184425]

Miss Melanie Johnson

The proposal to reform the coroner and death certificate service is likely to improve information about methicillin resist ant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection at or shortly before death in a number of ways. The emphasis on improved training for doctors in how to complete death certificates and the scrutiny of all certificates by specially trained medical examiners will improve the quality and completeness of information collected. The ability to link fact and cause of death to laboratory or patient records of infection will make it possible to determine how many people die following a diagnosis on invasive MRSA infection.

Mr. Laurence Robertson

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to counter MRSA in hospitals; and if he will make a statement. [188911]

Miss Melanie Johnson

The Government's proposed actions to tackle methicillin resistant "Staphylococcus aureus" (MRSA) and other healthcare associated infections are set out in "Winning Ways, working together to reduce Healthcare Associated Infection in England", published in December 2003 and "Towards cleaner hospitals and lower races of infection", published in July 2004. These are available in the Library. The actions set out in these publications will ensure that infection control is the business of everyone working in the national health service. To underline the priority the Government attaches to this subject, the actions include setting a new target for the NHS to reduce rates of MRSA infection year-on-year.