Care Homes: MRSA

Health written question – answered on 5th February 2008.

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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 proportion of deaths in care homes were caused by (a) MRSA and (b) clostridium difficile infections in each of the last five years.

Photo of Angela Eagle Angela Eagle The Exchequer Secretary, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

I have been asked to reply.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 5 February 2008:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking what proportion of deaths in care homes were caused by (a) MRSA and (b) Clostridium difficile infections in each of the last 5 years. (183834)

Death certificates record the place where a person dies, but not where any infections may have been acquired. It is not possible from the information on a death certificate to know whether an infection was acquired in the care home or other place where a patient died. Patients are often transferred between hospitals, nursing/care homes and other establishments and may acquire infections in a different place from where they died.

Special analyses of deaths involving MRSA and Clostridium difficile are undertaken annually by ONS for England and Wales. The most recent figures were published in reports in Health Statistics Quarterly 33 in February 2007. This publication is available in the House of Commons library.

The categories used by ONS in presenting place of death are: own home; NHS general hospital; non-NHS general hospital; hospice; NHS nursing home; non-NHS nursing home; private residential home; and local authority residential home.

The tables below provide data on the proportion of all death certificates in NHS nursing homes, non-NHS nursing homes, private residential homes, and local authority residential homes where MRSA or Clostridium difficile were recorded as the underlying cause of death. Data on the proportion of death certificates recording MRSA or C. difficile in these four establishment types combined (all types of 'home') is also provided. Data is for 2001 to 2005, the latest year for which figures are available.

Table 1 presents data for MRSA, Table 2 presents data for Clostridium difficile.

Table 1: Proportion (percentage) of deaths in each establishment type( 1) where Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus( 2) (MRSA) was recorded as the underlying cause of death, 2001-05( 3)
NHS nursing home Non-NHS nursing home Private residential home Local authority residential home Combined total (all types of 'home')
2001 0.04 0.02 0.01 (4)n/a 0.02
2002 0.14 0.02 0.00 0.01 0.02
2003 0.24 0.03 0.02 0.01 0.03
2004 0.08 0.05 0.02 0.03 0.04
2005 0.20 0.04 0.04 0.01 0.04
(1) Death certificates record the place where a person dies, but not where any infection may have been acquired.

(2) Identified using the methodology described in Griffiths C, Lamagni TL, Crowcroft NS, Duckworth G and Rooney C (2004). Trends in MRSA in England and Wales: analysis of morbidity and mortality data for 1993-2002. "Health Statistics Quarterly" 21, 15-22.

(3) Deaths occurring in each calendar year

(4) n/a = no deaths

Table 2: Proportion (percentage) of deaths in each establishment type( 1) where Clostridium difficile( 2) (C. difficile) was recorded as the underlying cause of death, 2001-05( 3)
NHS nursing home Non-NHS nursing home Private residential home Local authority residential home Combined total (all types of 'home')
2001 0.22 0.03 0.03 (4)n/a 0.03
2002 0.21 0.03 0.00 0.01 0.03
2003 0.24 0.04 0.02 0.04 0.04
2004 0.24 0.06 0.04 0.05 0.06
2005 0.56 0.11 0.07 0.06 0.11
(1) Death certificates record the place where a person dies, but not where any infection may have been acquired.

(2) Identified using the methodology described in Office for National Statistics: Report: Deaths involving Clostridium difficile: England and Wales, 2001-05. "Health Statistics Quarterly" 33, 71-75.

(3) Deaths occurring in each calendar year

(4) n/a = no deaths

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