Hospital bugs reached an all-time high in NHS hospitals in 2010/11 according to official figures, nearly doubling from 2008/09.
The number of hospital acquired infections has risen from 22,488 in 2008/9 to 42,712 in the past 24 months. In 1998/99 just 335 cases were reported.
Hospital bugs are spreading because of poor hygiene on NHS wards.
The figures, from the NHS Information Centre, cover all hospital infections including MRSA, C. difficile, and other illnesses like E.coli and norovirus.
Hospital-acquired infections lead to extended stays in hospitals of around a month, and last year patients suffering from the bugs took up almost 800,000 NHS beds.
Many people are now considering private medical insurance as an alternative to staying on an NHS ward.
The Health Protection Agency recently announced that there have been 244 confirmed outbreaks of norovirus in NHS hospitals since the beginning of October.
Poor hygiene on the wards is thought to be the cause of the dramatic increase in hospital bugs. Epidemiologist Dr Mark Enright, of London’s Imperial College, said:
‘If you are a nurse on a busy ward at night you can’t always change gloves between patients so you will always get a measure of bacteria transmission.’
In 2011 compensation payments to the victims of hospital-acquired infections reached more than £6million. When the legal costs are added in the total bill to the NHS came to more than £10million.
A Department of Health spokesperson said: 'These figures are misleading. The NHS has got better and better at tackling hospital infections'.
However, many people are now turning to private medical insurance in order to avoid contracting a hospital bug from an NHS ward.
Private medical insurance gives you the choice of being treated in a private hospital, in your own room with ensuite facilities. Private healthcare providers like Spire are renowned for excellent hygiene standards and a very low rate of hospital acquired infections.
Choose a private hospital with our online database and compare health insurance quotes online to help you avoid NHS superbugs.
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