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Our quality story

MRSA blood infections

MRSA – or meticillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus – is a common bacterial infection which around one in three people have on their skin. In most cases it is harmless and you won’t know you have it.

MRSA is a problem in hospitals because there is an increased risk that it will get into a wound and the blood will become infected. Because it is resistant to many antibiotics it is difficult to treat. MRSA blood infections – sometimes called MRSA bacteraemias – are rare, but can lead to serious complications.

What's the standard?

The Department of Health and Social Care has a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to avoidable MRSA infections, confirming that no preventable MRSA blood infection is acceptable.

How are we doing?

Our recent performance:

  • December 2019 – 0 MRSA blood infections
  • November – 1
  • October – 1.

MRSA blood infections are rare and we continue to work hard to avoid these. Each case is investigated so any lessons can be learnt.

How you can help us

If you have previously been identified as having MRSA, or have been in close contact with someone who has, please tell our staff before you come into hospital or when you are admitted. This allows us to provide the best possible care for you.

Help prevent infection – wash your hands

  • Infection prevention – video transcript

    At Guy's and St Thomas' we take infection control very seriously.

    We do not want any of our patients to get a hospital acquired infection needlessly.

    In hospital everybody needs to adopt good hand hygiene practice, that includes you the patient, visitors and all of the staff, the nursing staff, doctors, everybody.

    We would encourage everybody that visits the ward to use the gel as they walk in and as they leave.

    We expect all of our staff, wherever they are, to wash their hands before they come in contact with you, and to wash their hands after they've finished caring for you.

    If you feel that you need to ask our nurses or our doctors or our therapists to wash their hands, then please do not hesitate to do so.


Washing your hands can reduce your risk of infection. Please wash your hands after using the toilet and before eating or drinking, and encourage your visitors to do the same.

Even if they look clean, your hands can still carry many germs. That's why cleaning hands regularly is so important.

Find out more

For more information, see the NHS website.

Got a question?

If you have a question about or comment on this information, please contact the communications team at

MRSA blood infections in December 2019.

Page last updated: February 4 2020