The trusts with the worst records for cutting cases of MRSA are to be targeted by a new objective from the Department of Health.

Health minister Ann Keen announced that from April next year a new initiative will be introduced to provide safer care throughout the NHS.

The trusts with the highest rates of MRSA will be expected to reduce their cases by more than other trusts. Those performing well will be challenged to do even better and make further reductions.

Ms Keen said: ”We must reduce MRSA infections across the whole of the NHS so the new objective will introduce the toughest challenges for underperforming organisations. This objective reflects the NHS’s zero tolerance policy for infections.”

Inspector of microbiology and infection control Brian Duerden said: “The new MRSA objective will sustain the excellent improvements we have already seen and drive down infections across the NHS. By focusing on those who can improve the most, we will reduce the variation that exists and make sure that everyone is striving to bring infection rates down even further.”

A national target for reducing MRSA was set at 50 per cent in 2004. Latest figures show there has already been a reduction of 76 per cent.