PERFORMANCE: The prevalence of healthcare associated infections in the South West region is slightly above the national average, according to a report from the Health Protection Agency.

The HPA has published results from its latest HCAI prevalence survey, which reveals a snapshot of infection levels across hospital trusts in England. Overall more than 52,000 patients were surveyed at 103 organisations last autumn.

Nationally HCAIs were detected in 6.4% of patients, compared to 8.2% in 2006 when the HPA last carried out a similar prevalence survey.

In the South West region 6,317 patients were surveyed, of which 420 were found to have an HCAI. This represents an HCAI prevalence of 6.6%.

The South West had a slightly higher than average antimicrobial use among the strategic health authority areas, according to the report.

The HPA found 2,226 patients were taking antibiotics in the South West, equivalent to 35.2%. The national average was 34.7%.