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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 June, 2005, 10:27 GMT 11:27 UK
NHS trust sees biggest MRSA rise
Bradford Royal Infirmary
The trust is one of Bradford's biggest employers
Bradford Teaching Hospitals Trust has seen the biggest rise in the number of MRSA superbug cases among England's general hospitals, new figures show.

The trust, which runs Bradford Royal Infirmary and St Luke's, saw 31 more cases of MRSA last year, said the Health Protection Agency.

The research showed that 68 of the country's 173 trusts - almost 40% - saw MRSA rates rise in 2004/5 from 2003/4.

Overall national rates dropped 6.1% - down 472 to a total of 7,212 cases.

Flagship trusts

The MRSA figures come as a fresh blow to managers at the Bradford Teaching Hospitals, which last year became the first NHS foundation trust to have its chairman removed by the independent regulator Monitor.

In December 2004, Monitor removed John Ryan after the trust ran up millions of pounds of debt.

The Department of Health said strategic health authorities would be taking a close look at the performance of trusts which had seen increases in MRSA cases.

General hospitals which saw the biggest reductions in cases of MRSA included the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust in Birmingham, down 37 cases, Epsom and St Helier, down 30, and North Middlesex Hospital, down 24.

Government consultation

Nationally, two of the flagship foundation trusts were found to have the highest overall rates of MRSA cases.

University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust came bottom with the number of cases of MRSA rising from 123 to 152 in a year.

And despite Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust seeing its number of cases drop from 126 to 123, it was found to have the second highest rate of MRSA.

Health Minister Jane Kennedy said the government would soon start consultation on a hygiene code, with sanctions for trusts which continue to fail to come up to scratch.

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