The government is within touching distance of hitting its MRSA target, but opposition parties have accused ministers of manipulating the data.

Latest figures show there were 1,072 cases of the superbug inEnglandfrom July to September last year.

This approaches the target of half the 1,925 average quarterly figure in 2003-04.

But the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have accused ministers of moving the target back so it takes account of the period directly after the£50m deep clean of hospitals.