Ten hospitals in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde are to introduce MRSA screening for every patient arriving for a planned operation.

It will be an extension of a programme that already screens certain high-risk patients, including those pre-booked for orthopaedic and plastic surgery and all intensive care admissions.

The Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley will be launching the initiative, which is the biggest screening programme of its kind by a UK health board.

It will cover 87,000 admissions a year and include all pre-booked appointments and emergency admissions for operations, as well as specialist surgical procedures, including heart surgery.

Dr Brian Cowan, the health board’s medical director, said: “As part of the routine pre-admission process that patients currently undergo, a simple nasal swab will also be taken to test for MRSA.”

Funding of £1.3m has been made available to process the samples, which takes between 24 and 36 hours, and increase the number of nursing and laboratory staff.