Doctors should change into uniforms on entering hospital to help stop the spread of infections, according to an MP whose local hospital became the first to be served with a hygiene improvement notice.

Doctors should change into uniforms on entering hospital to help stop the spread of infections, according to an MP whose local hospital became the first to be served with a hygiene improvement notice.

Labour MP for Enfield North Joan Ryan, whose constituency includes Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals trust, called for a dress code for doctors.

Ms Ryan said Welsh hospitals had a uniform code for doctors as part of a tough line on cleanliness which has helped reduce rates of MRSA and Clostridium difficile. Latest figures show the rate of all healthcare-associated infections in Wales is 6.3 per cent, lower than in England and less than the UK average.

However the Welsh Assembly says the code is at the discretion of each trust.

The MP has set out a five-point plan for infection control in response to the Healthcare Commission's study reporting that only half of senior managers in charge of infection control have an appropriate qualification (see 'Infection control leads not qualified').

She also wants routine screening before patients are admitted and for managers to take a tougher line with the public to ensure they abide by infection control procedures.

The commission said there was debate about whether staff clothing was a factor in infection. It recommended that trusts follow the extensive independent national clothing guidelines endorsed by the British Medical Association and royal colleges.

The commission supports Department of Health guidance on screening at-risk patients but says that universal screening would be impractical, especially as C difficile requires stool samples.