Department of Health | Published online: 10 November 2016
Image shows electron micrograph of Escherichia coli close-up
Plans to prevent hospital infections include more money for hospitals who reduce infection rates and publishing E. coli rates by local area.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has launched new plans to reduce infections in the NHS. He announced government plans to halve the number of gram-negative bloodstream infections by 2020 at an infection control summit.
E. coli infections – which represent 65% of what are called gram-negative infections – killed more than 5,500 NHS patients last year and are set to cost the NHS £2.3 billion by 2018. There is also large variation in hospital infection rates, with the worst performers having more than 5 times the number of cases than the best performing hospitals.
Infection rates can be cut with better hygiene and improved patient care in hospitals, surgeries and care homes, such as ensuring staff, patients and visitors regularly wash their hands. People using insertion devices such as catheters, which are often used following surgery, can develop infections like E. coli if they are not inserted properly, left in too long or if patients are not properly hydrated and going to the toilet regularly.
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