Four foundation trusts and six primary care trusts are among the 21 organisations that have failed to assure the new regulator they are meeting infection control standards.

The trusts have all had conditions attached to their registration with the Care Quality Commission, the new health and social care regulator that came into force this week.

The other organisations landed with conditions are seven NHS hospital trusts, three mental health trusts and an ambulance trust.

“This was an opportunity for trusts to let patients and the public know that they are taking effective action to tackle these infections”

The conditions are a list of improvements the trusts must make, such as the prescribing of anti-biotics and staff supervision.

CQC chair Barbara Young said: “This was an opportunity for trusts to let patients and the public know that they are taking effective action to tackle these infections.

“The overwhelming majority of trusts provided the assurance needed to register. We will closely monitor their performance to ensure they continue to meet the regulations and make improvements when required.

“In 21 trusts we need further assurance that they are meeting the regulations. We will monitor their performance throughout the year and will not hesitate to use our enforcement powers to protect patients’ safety where needed.”

Hygiene standards

To carry out the assessment, the CQC asked trusts to declare whether they were compliant with the hygiene code.

It then cross-checked this with other performance information such as patient and staff surveys, Healthcare Commission hygiene inspections, trusts’ declarations against core standards for infection control, and rates of MRSA and C difficile.

CQC chief executive Cynthia Bower told HSJ two weeks ago that any trusts failing to comply fully with the hygiene code would be given “very tight timescales” to prove to inspectors that progress had been made. This could be as little as a week.

The CQC has the power to fine trusts up to £50,000 and close down services. Without registering with the commission, trusts are not allowed to run services.