Patients and the public can now check St George’s Hospital’s MRSA and Clostridium difficile (C.diff) figures and learn more about how staff are successfully fighting infection.

Infection control is a top priority for St George’s and staff are working hard to monitor and prevent infections. The rates on the website date from April 2008 and are updated on a regular basis. They show that St George’s is performing well within the national targets set for both MRSA and C.diff, with the number of C.diff cases having fallen by 74% compared to last year. The rates also show that St George’s currently has the lowest MRSA rates for any London Teaching Hospital.

Dr Geraldine Walters, Director of Nursing, Patient Involvement and Infection Control, said:

“Understandably hospital-acquired infection is a major concern for patients. Here at St George’s we are working hard to control the levels of infection and we want the public to be able to see for themselves the positive impact that our efforts are having.

“Our aim is to maintain and build confidence in St George’s services and, by publishing our infection rate figures, we will help people to understand more about how we are working to improve care”.

More information on St George’s and infection control 

Notes to editors

For more information, please contact the Communications Unit on 020 8725 5151 or email Outside working hours, please page us by calling 0844 822 2888, leaving a short message and contact details for pager SG548..

1. What is MRSA?
MRSA stands for Meticillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus. This means that Meticillin (an antibiotic) does not work on this type of bacteria. Therefore infections with MRSA can be harder to treat with antibiotics. However, the majority of patients who develop a MRSA infection are successfully treated with antibiotics.

Most people with MRSA carry it without any harm to themselves or their family. However it can sometimes cause serious infections, especially if it gets into a wound. This is why we try to stop MRSA spreading around the hospital.

2. What is Clostridium difficile?
Clostridium difficile (C.diff) is a bacterium that is present naturally in the gut of around 3% of adults and 66% of children.

C.diff does not cause any problems in healthy people. However, some antibiotics that are used to treat other health conditions can interfere with the balance of ‘good’ bacteria in the gut. When this happens, C.diff bacteria can multiply and cause symptoms such as diarrhoea and fever.

As C.diff infections are usually caused by antibiotics, most cases usually happen in a healthcare environment, such as a hospital or care home. Older people are most at risk from infection, with the majority of cases (80%) occurring in people over 65. Most people with a C.diffinfection make a full recovery. However, in rare cases, the infection can be fatal.