Preventing Infection

Preventing Infection

Minimising the risk to patients by preventing hospital-acquired infections is our top priority at Gloucestershire Royal and Cheltenham General Hospitals.

Public Health England set  targets to reduce the number of cases of the 2 main infections - MRSA bacteraemia and C-difficile.

We are also required to report certain other infections to Public Health England - these include bloodstream infections including  MSSA and E-coli. This data enables national trends to be monitored.


Meticillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus is a type of bacteria (germ) which lives harmlessly on the skin and in the noses, in about one third of people.  People who have MSSA on their bodies or in their noses are said to be colonised.  However MSSA colonistation usually causes them no problems, but can cause an infection when it gets the opportunity to enter the body. This is more likely to happen in people who are already unwell.  MSSA can cause local infections such as abscesses or boils and it can infect any wound that has caused a break in the skin e.g. grazes, surgical wounds. 

MSSA can cause serious infections called septicaemia (blood poisoning) where it gets into the bloodstream.

MSSA is found when swabs from skin, nose or wounds or other specimens such as urine or sputum which are examined in the hospital

Simple guide to MSSA

Link to PHE website



Clostridium difficile (C-diff) lives in the gut of approximately 3% of the population. It causes no problems as it is kept in check by the other bacteria which live in the gut and is present in small numbers. 

In the hospital setting C-diff can cause problems when some patients are given antibiotics. These antibiotics can disrupt the bacteria living in the gut and allow C-diff to become the main bacteria. It releases a toxin which causes diarrhea—this is what we call a C-diff infection. 

If a patient is diagnosed with C-diff they will be nursed in a single room. Although C-diff can be caused by antibiotics it can also be treated using antibiotics. Other important factors in the treatment of C-diff include good environmental cleaning and personal protective equipment (PPE) for the staff caring for you. If a patient is diagnosed with a C.diff infection, all members of staff and visitors should wash their hands with soap and water before and after visiting.

All of our patients with C-diff are reviewed by the Infection, Prevention and Control Team initially after they are diagnosed and then followed up  while they are in hospital until recovered. This allows the swift treatment of infectious patients and any improvements in the use of antibiotics or others factors associated with C-diff to be identified and implemented. 

We report all C-diff infections to Public Health England. 



MRSA is a type of bacterial infection that is resistant to a number of widely used antibiotics. This means it can be more difficult to treat than other bacterial infections.  The full name of MRSA is Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. You may have heard it called a superbug.  MRSA can and does live harmlessly on the skin of some people in the general public.

In hospital it is monitored closely as it can cause infections in wounds and the blood. 

Every case of an MRSA infection in a patient's blood is reported to Public Health England, thoroughly investigated and an analysis is completed so any improvements in care can be implemented. 

We screen all elective and emergency patients who are admitted to the Trust for MRSA. An MRSA screen is carried out using a swab which is inserted at the entrance of your nostrils—your groin area is also screened using a separate swab. 

If you have a positive result from an MRSA screen it does not mean you are infected—just that MRSA lives on your skin. You may be given a special wash for your skin and ointment for your nose to remove the bacteria from your skin. This will normally be recommended by the Infection Prevention and Control Team or the clinical team responsible for your care. 



Please click on link below for information on E-coli:

Link to PHE website