Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, last week asked the Health Minister what his estimate was for the number of people who die from infections acquired in hospital. The Minister refused to give a figure claiming that ‘certifying doctors may not have information on where an infection was acquired‘.
Peter Lilley said: “I was very disappointed with this complacent reply. The National Audit Office has estimated that at least 5,000 people a year die from infections acquired in hospital – and the number could exceed 20,000. Moreover they estimate that nearly one in ten NHS beds is occupied by someone who acquired their illness in hospital. The European Commission says that the level of hospital acquired infections in Britain is higher and rising faster than in any other comparable EU country.
“It is scandalous that Ministers are not taking greater steps to establish the true scale of the problem. If they do not do so, it is hard to believe that they will take steps to eradicate it.”
Note to Editors:
Hospital Acquired Infections
13. Mr. Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what recent estimate he has made of the number of people who die from infections acquired in hospital. 
Dr. Ladyman: Estimates of the number of deaths associated with these infections cannot be provided as certifying doctors may not have information on where an infection was acquired.
Tuesday 4 November 2003