The Department of Health has asked the Health Protection Agency to publish hospital infection reports on a rolling basis.

The weekly statistics will be reported in 12 week batches.

The first set of figures covers weekly infection reports of MRSA and C difficile cases from 7 March to 30 May.

They show that some hospitals are experiencing a large number of C difficile cases, even after the DH’s raw figures have been adjusted to take account of the size of each hospital.

Arrowe Park Hospital, part of Wirral University Hospital Foundation Trust, had the highest number of cases, with 53 C difficile infection reports during the 12-week period.

University Hospital of North Staffordshire Trust had the second highest number, with 44 reports.

The trust hit its infection targets for 2009-10 but has had problems since April. It has ordered a review of antibiotic use across the trust. At a recent board meeting, the director of finance pledged to reduce infections to zero before the move to a new hospital building in 2012.

At Nottingham City Hospital - part of Nottingham University Hospitals Trust - there were 37 infection reports over 12 weeks, something Unison said could be worsened by a £29m cut that would see 200 posts deleted.

Trust branch secretary Martin Benn told Nursing Times: “If they’re making cuts across the board, that’s certainly going to affect cleanliness in the hospital.

“If we’re reducing cleaning staff, it stands to reason that there’s going to be more work for these staff and they’re inevitably going to have to either work harder or cut corners.”

The data publication is part of the new government’s transparency drive.

The Infection Prevention Society, that represents nurses and others in infection control, warned it could place an additional burden on frontline staff.

IPS vice president Tracey Cooper said: “It will be important that Trusts devote sufficient resources to ensure that meaningful information is available without any additional burden being placed on infection prevention and control staff.

“Infections sometimes take time to confirm via laboratory testing, therefore it is essential that everyone understands data reported weekly will be subject to change. Additional confirmatory testing results are sometimes required, and may lead to amendments of data posted in previous weeks.”