The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has recently published a report relating to deaths involving MRSA and C Difficile, which is linked to individual hospitals. This is the first report where deaths from these infections have been connected to an individual establishment.
Claimant lawyers may try and use this report, in an attempt to support a claim of negligence relating to contraction of MRSA or C Difficile at a particular hospital. Claims of this nature have been very difficult to establish in the past. However, this evidence is now readily available in the public domain and could be used to support potential claims.
The report could also be used by patients for the purpose of arguing that their healthcare should be provided in one particular hospital as a direct result of that hospital having lower MRSA and C Difficile statistics than at another hospital. Disputed decisions as a result of this issue could result in an increase in judicial review cases in the future.
The ONS warns that the figures in the report should be interpreted with caution for various reasons. These include but are not limited to the following:
- that death certificates say where a person has died but not where the infection was acquired;
- death certification practices differ between doctors and hospitals; and
- different hospitals provide care for different types of patients.
If the statistics are used for litigation purposes these possible inconsistencies should be fully explored.
The report can be accessed at: www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_health/HSQ38_MRSA_CDiff.pdf