PERFORMANCE: The prevalence of healthcare associated infections in the North East 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 North East region 2,632 patients were surveyed, of which 210 were found to have an HCAI. This represents an HCAI prevalence of 6.9%.

The North East had the highest antimicrobial use of all the strategic health authority areas, according to the report.

The HPA found 1,050 patients were taking antibiotics in the North East, equivalent to 39.9%. The national average was 34.7%.