Sir Richard Branson has accused politicians of "tinkering" with infection control in hospitals.
The recently appointed vice-president of the Patients Association wants all hospital staff to be screened for MRSA, and treated immediately if infected.
He says any disruption caused would be better than the pain, misery and deaths caused by avoidable infections.
However, NHS experts argued they had made significant progress in tackling the problem.
And Professor Mark Enright, an MRSA expert, said the policy could make sense, but would be expensive to implement.
Sir Richard has also called for managers who fail to enforce patient safety standards to be sacked.
Across the UK MRSA rates are falling, but Sir Richard wants to see a much tougher line.
He said: "There have been some improvements, but the facts speak for themselves - and the facts are still horrific.
"It feels like they have tinkered with the problem rather than really got to the heart of the problem. The hospitals are there to cure people. They are not there to kill people."
Hospitals are there to cure people - they are not to kill people
Sir Richard Branson
In the UK, as in other developed countries, it is estimated that one in 10 patients admitted to hospitals will suffer harm as a result of something going wrong.
Learning from industry
Sir Richard says the health service could learn a lot from the airline and rail industries on how to avoid mistakes.
"In the airline industry if we had that kind of track record we would have been grounded years ago," he said.
"In the airline industry if there is an adverse event that information is sent out to every airline in the world.
"And every airline makes absolutely certain that that adverse event doesn't happen twice."
Working with the Patients' Association, Sir Richard is organising an international conference in the new year to examine what works best in infection control and patient safety. He will make recommendations to the government.
But he is already convinced that all hospital staff, including surgeons, nurses and cleaners, should be screened and treated if they are found to be carrying MRSA.
He said: "You don't necessarily have to ask them to leave the hospital while they are being treated.
"They can just not have any contact with patients for those two weeks while their treatment is taking place, and then they can come back and have contact with patients.
"That is far better than having people dying from unnecessary diseases, and all the misery and pain that that causes, and the cost to the NHS which is enormous."
Derek Butler, chairman of the campaign group MRSA Action UK, agreed that a tougher line was needed.
He also called for restrictions on the number of people visiting patients in hospital.
"Fighting health care infections has to be an all or nothing affair. There can be no halfway house."
But Professor Enright, from London's Imperial College, said the policy would prove to be expensive.
This proposal will cost a great deal of money and risk further reductions in the number of health professionals available to treat patients
British Medical Association
He said: "It could be successful, but it would be very costly because you would have to employ extra staff.
"There is no slack in the NHS to do this. If you did a cost-benefit analysis there are possibly better ways of spending the money."
A spokesman for The British Medical Association warned that running an airline was not the same as running a health service.
He said: "This proposal will cost a great deal of money and risk further reductions in the number of health professionals available to treat patients at a time when we are critically short of staff and beds."
Nigel Edwards, of the NHS Confederation, which represents over 95% of NHS organisations, said: "The NHS has made huge progress in reducing MRSA by 50% and C. diff rates are going down.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.