Healthcare associated infections (HCAI)

These are infections that occur in a healthcare setting (such as a hospital) that a patient didn't have before they came in. Factors such as illness, age and treatment being received can all make patients more vulnerable to infection.

Many infections are caused by micro-organisms already present in or on the patient's own body. Such organisms only cause problems when the body's defences are weakened, or breached by surgery or other medical procedures.

Infections may also be caused by micro-organisms originating from another patient either by direct contact or through a contaminated hospital environment.

You can find out more about HCAI, including how they are caused and the most common types of infection, on the Public Health England website.


Meticillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a type of staphylococcus aureus that has become resistant to the antibiotic Meticillin and some other commonly used antibiotics.

The Trust has an MRSA screening programme for all admissions with a few exceptions. This enables patients colonised or infected with MRSA to be identified and appropriate measures taken. Read more in our MRSA policy.

Clostridium difficile

Clostridium difficile is a bacteria (germ) that can cause diarrhoea in some circumstances. It is sometimes called C.difficile or C.diff.


Better known as the winter vomiting bug, norovirus is highly contagious and is the most common cause of stomach bugs (gastroenteritis) in England.

Information on norovirus, including symptoms and treatment, is available on the NHS website and on the Public Health England site.

Download our patient information leaflet Gastroenteritis caused by norovirus and other viruses.

If you are suffering from norovirus please do not visit the hospital until 72 hours after your symptoms have stopped. This is to prevent the spread of infections to patients in the hospital.

Seasonal influenza (flu)

Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory viral infection which is easily spread by coughing, sneezing and a contaminated environment.

Most people who get flu recover within two weeks, but some people can develop life threatening complications such as pneumonia and bronchitis. Vulnerable groups, such as the elderly or immunocompromised, can get flu jabs at their GP.

You can find out more about the symptoms and treatments for flu in our patient information leaflet or on the NHS website.

Information, including frequently asked questions, is also available on the Public Health England website.