Hospitals to notably reduce MRSA rates

The spread of the superbug MRSA among patients in hospitals is being aided by a lack of isolation rooms, England’s disease watchdog has warned. Half of all hospitals in the country will have to reduce MRSA rates next year as part of an attack on the deadly bug.

A survey of intensive care units in 32 hospitals found that just two could isolate all patients who had the bug. Intensive care patients are more prone to MRSA.

Ministers are trying to tackle hospitals that are worst performing after reducing the overall number of cases across the country.

A spokesman for the Department of Health confirmed that hospitals would not face penalties for missing their targets.

However, he added, hospitals would continue to get their infection rate figures published on the NHS choices website and could see patients choose to go elsewhere if they consistently had a large number of MRSA cases.

The picture of how MRSA is being contained in critical care settings is a matter of concern, the annual report of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre revealed. The prevalence of MRSA in some intensive care units was as high as 21.2pc.

Another factor responsible for MRSA patient being moved to isolation ward or not was lack of staff.