One in 16 patients in NHS hospitals picks up infection, warns watchdog

a grapgic image representing 1 in 16National Institute for Health and Care Excellence describes the rate of infections in hospitals as ‘unacceptably high’

One in every 16 people treated at an NHS hospital fall ill with an infection, according to a government health agency report. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said the rate of infections, which are a “very real threat” to patients’ lives, was “unacceptably high”.

Infections can occur in healthy people, especially if they are undergoing invasive surgery or using catheters or tubes inserted into veins. Children, the elderly and the ill are even more susceptible.

Common types of infection include pneumonia, lower respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections and surgical site infections.

While steps have been taken to reduce infection rates of hospital bugs such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile, other infection rates are still too high, Nice said. A spokeswoman said that doctors and nurses must “redouble” hygiene efforts to bring the rates down.

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