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MRSA target row

30th January 2008

A row has erupted over MRSA figures as it emerged that the government is close to meeting its target on combating the superbug.

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Opposition politicians have accused the government of manipulating data after it was revealed that in England from July to September 2007 there were 1,072 cases of MRSA, close to half the 1,925 average quarterly figure of 2003/04.

This comes a year after a leaked memo from the Department of Health indicated the target of halving the rates of MRSA by 2008, set in 2004 by former health secretary John Reid, was likely to be missed. The latest figures show an 18% fall.

However, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have accused the government of moving the target back so it comes after the £50m deep clean of hospitals.

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said the government was “selectively choosing? data to try and fix an outcome.

He added: “It’s no coincidence that the time frame they selected is after hospitals finish their deep clean programme.?

Lib Dem health spokesman Norman Lamb said: “This is disturbing evidence of the government manipulating figures to hit a target. By shifting the numbers around in this way, they are far more likely to hit a target which had previously seemed out of reach.?

The government has denied manipulating the figures, saying it was it always planned to use the April to June period to assess the MRSA target.

Figures also show Clostridium difficile figures are falling, though the Healthcare Commission says too many people are still suffering superbug infections.

 

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