Scottish Health Boards refuse to release MRSA figures under FoI

Scotland's health boards have refused, under FoI, to reveal the true MRSA infection rates in the country's hospitals. Shona Robison, SNP shadow health minister, criticised the health boards' stance, commenting: "Health boards must be honest about the rates of MRSA in hospitals and have to be willing to share the information, whether it is good or bad."

Scotland on Sunday submitted FoI requests to all of Scotland's health boards asking for the number of MRSA cases in 2004 to be broken down by each hospital. Despite each hospital in the country having dedicated infection control teams responsible for monitoring superbug cases, only five health authorities were able to produce detailed figures for individual hospitals in their areas. Four health boards failed to reply at all within the 20-working day deadline to the newspaper's request for numbers of MRSA cases.

The Scottish Information Commissioner said it was "unacceptable" for authorities to fail to deal with requests for information and stated that he would have "little time" for the authorities that failed to respond - NHS Greater Glasgow, NHS Highland, NHS Orkney and NHS Western Isles. He added that he would carry out an investigation if the boards fail to provide the information after a further 20 working day appeal period.

Health boards in Lanarkshire, Argyll and Clyde, the Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, and Fife, all failed to provide the requested break down of MRSA figures. But official statistics provided by Health Protection Scotland have revealed that NHS Greater Glasgow had 280 infections across all its hospitals, the largest number in Scotland. In Lanarkshire 89 patients were infected with MRSA, while NHS Fife had 54 cases.

Boards tried to hide MRSA infection rate truth (Scotland on Sunday, 22 May 2005)