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NSW public hospitals record high infection rates

27 October 2011 - 4:57pm

Four of Sydney's largest hospitals have recorded unacceptably high rates of "golden-staph" infection, according to new government data.

The federal government's MyHospitals website shows that the Westmead, Concord, Liverpool and Nepean hospitals all had infection rates that exceeded the accepted two cases per 10,000 patients.

Outside of Sydney, another five NSW facilities recorded above-average instances of the superbug.

One of the most surprising statistics was regional Gunnedah District Hospital claiming the nation's highest infection rate, of 4.17 per 1000 patients - however this was based on just three infection cases.

However, NSW was not only state to exceed the safety benchmark.

A total of 13 facilities around Australia indicated a higher number of cases than expected, including Melbourne's Peter McCallum Cancer Institute, South Australia's Royal Adelaide Hospital, Western Australia's Sir Charles Gairdner and Tasmania's Mersey Hospital.

Golden staph - or staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia - is a potentially fatal blood infection, and is usually as a result of poor hand washing, surgery or the insertion of intravenous drips.

Private health insurance has the ability to offer a wider variety of available hospitals and services.

Approximately 7,000 cases of golden staph infection are recorded in Australia every year.