Trusts will be expected to reduce MRSA rates to levels set nationally based on their performance and number of bed days.

The Department of Health is considering setting each NHS organisation an “attainable minimum” goal to reduce the level of MRSA infections, as revealed in HSJ last week.

An impact analysis of the policy says while the national target to halve MRSA between 2003-04 and 2007-08 was hit, there remains “substantial variation in local performance”.

Under the proposals, each organisation would be given a permitted rate of MRSA infections, based on bed days for acute trusts and population rates for primary care trusts.

Organisations would be told to bring their rates in line with the median or best performing quartile.

Those achieving this already would need to reduce MRSA cases by 10 per cent each year, apart from the top 10 per cent of organisations. Alternatively, improvement targets could be set locally.

Cases will only be attributed to hospitals if they appear 48 hours after the patient’s admission.

The plans will save the NHS up to £57.5m in avoided deaths, according to the analysis.

Responses to the consultation must be submitted by 24 July.

See Andy Burnham promises to overhaul NHS targets