New figures are showing that the number of patients who have contracted serious infections whilst in NHS hospitals has almost doubled within two years.
The figures, from the NHS Information Centre, show that the number of people who had a “nosocomial condition”, which is any infection acquired in hospital or another medical environment, stood at 42,712 last year, over a third higher than the 31,447 recorded in the previous year and almost double the 22,448 figure for 2008/09.
A large number of those who contracted these infections, which include MRSA, Clostridium difficile, norovirus and E.coli, were found to be over the age of 75, however the figures were dismissed by the Department of Health, which insists that the NHS has improved in its tackling of hospital infections. It said that there was now mandatory reporting of more hospital infections, so issues were now coming to light when, in the past they would have been swept under the carpet.
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Joyce Robins, co-director of Patient Concern, called the figures revealing, especially as they contrasted sharply with “propaganda” which claimed that infection rates had dropped sharply. The figures also came out at the same time as the Health Protection Agency revealed that there had been 46 suspected outbreaks of norovirus in hospitals over the past fortnight with over half of these leading to ward closures or admissions restrictions.