Hospital Infection Rates Fall to Record Low


Rates of C.diff infection and MRSA in Scotland’s hospitals have fallen to their lowest ever level, according to figures published today.

The latest statistics, from Health Protection Scotland, show rates of C.diff have fallen by over 42 per cent, compared with the same period last year, while MRSA rates are down nearly 45 per cent.

Today’s figures show that, between April and June, there were:

  • 572 cases of C.diff in over 65s – down 10.5 per cent (from 639) on the previous quarter and down 42.6 per cent (from 996) when compared with the same period in 2009
  • 165 cases of C.diff in 15-64 year olds – a decrease of 14.9 per cent (from 194) on the previous quarter and down 46.9 per cent (from 311) when compared with the same period in 2009
  • 79 cases of MRSA – down 32.5 per cent on the previous quarter (from 117) and down 44.8 per cent (from 143) when compared with the same quarter last year

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:

“I made tackling hospital infections like C.diff and MRSA my top priority because I believe it’s vital that we both reduce the misery caused by these infections and increase public confidence in our NHS.

“These figures show that the strenuous efforts that have been made, and the initiatives that have been put in place, are delivering results for patients.

“However we must remain vigilant and there is no room for complacency. I remain confident that – with continued effort – we can drive down infection rates further still.”

Among the initiatives which have been introduced to tackle healthcare associated infections are:

  • Independent, unannounced inspections from the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate
  • Public reporting of hospital by hospital performance on key indicators such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile, hand hygiene and cleaning with a single website to give access to national and local information
  • Tripling funding to tackle Healthcare Associated Infections – to over £50 million over three years – to support a new and more comprehensive HAI Delivery Plan
  • Providing hundreds of additional cleaning staff across NHS Scotland funded by an extra £3.5 million in 2009/10 and over £5 million in the current year
  • Revamping the Senior Charge Nurse role, with responsibility for ensuring ward cleanliness
  • Introducing a new staff uniform and dress code.