The downward trend in the number of deaths involving MRSA and C difficile revealed by official figures could be reversed as a result of budget cuts, an infection control specialist warned last week.

Office for National Statistics figures show deaths involving C difficile fell by 34 per cent from 2008-09 from 5,931 to 3,933, and deaths involving MRSA went down by 37 per cent from 1,230 to 781.

However, Dr Nick Harper, director of infection prevention at Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Hospitals Foundation Trust, said the fall may not continue.

He said: “It’s going to be very difficult to maintain the standard [across all areas of care] that we have achieved in the environment of falling budgets.”

In July a quarter of foundation trusts warned Monitor they could miss targets on MRSA as a result of an expected fall in income over the next three years.