NHS hospitals to get extra cash if they cut infection rates


NHS hospitals will receive extra funds if they reduce infection rates, the health secretary has announced in a bid to tackle the superbug crisis.

More than 5,500 people died from E.coli infections in the UK last year, many of which were from antibiotic-resistant strains.

Jeremy Hunt said hospitals will share a premium of up to £45 million if they make 10% reductions in E.coli infections, use antibiotics appropriately and prevent urinary tract infections.

Urinary tract infections are commonly caused by poorly-fitted catheters and antibiotic misuse can cause resistant strains of bacteria to develop.

Mr Hunt also plans to boost transparency by forcing hospitals to publish staff hand hygiene figures, based on the amount of hand gel they use.

Wards will also have to display E.coli rates and data will be published so patients can see where antibiotics are being prescribed incorrectly, Mr Hunt added.

He said: "The best way to make sure antibiotics continue to work is by minimising their use, which means we need to start a new war on avoidable hospital infections."

The NHS has been successful in reducing rates of MRSA and C.difficile with infections dropping by 57% and 45% respectively.

A third of E.coli infections are now antibiotic-resistant, making them twice as deadly to those that can be treated with drugs, the Department of Health said.

Cases of E.coli exceeded 38,000 last year, a 6,000 increase since 2013, according to the department's figures.