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Hospitals: Infectious Diseases

Health written question – answered on 6th June 2007.

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Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb Shadow Secretary of State for Health, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has for mandatory prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Ivan Lewis Ivan Lewis Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health) (Care Services)

Not all healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) can be prevented but reducing HCAIs, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile ( C. difficile) infections is one of four top priorities for the national health service.

"The Health Act 2006: Code of practice for the prevention and control of healthcare associated infections" came into force on 1 October 2006 and already requires NHS bodies to have appropriate management and clinical governance systems in place to deliver effective infection control. Compliance with the code is assessed by the Healthcare Commission (HCC) and the HCC has the power to issue an improvement notice to an NHS body that in its view, is not properly observing the code.

In addition to a national target to halve MRSA bacteraemias (blood stream infections) by April 2008, local targets have been introduced to significantly reduce cases of C. difficile since 1 April 2007. We are planning to consult on amendment regulations on how to apply the provisions of the code to the independent health and adult social care sectors later this year.

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