More than nine people are dying everyday in London hospitals due to infections caused by bugs such as Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) and MRSA.
Exclusive figures published in the Standard show for the first time the number of people dying from infections that can be easily prevented by maintaining good hygienic practices in hospitals.
There were at least 489 reported deaths in London as a direct result of the stomach bug Clostridium difficile or MRSA in 2006. The bugs also figured on a further 456 death certificates, according to figures obtained from the Office for National Statistics.
The Standard investigation revealed widespread ignorance in hospitals about deaths due to bug infection. Healthcare Charity, the Patients' Association said the death rates should be published alongside infection figures, which are released every quarter by hospitals.
According to a spokesman of the Association Michael Summers: "It is extremely worrying that hospitals are not monitoring death rates properly. "Patients have the right to know the numbers of deaths from MRSA and C.difficile, not just the numbers contracting an infection. It would be in their best interest to see the full list so they can make an informed choice."
In a move to increase hygienic practices in hospitals, staff at Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is being encouraged to go "bare below the elbows."
The Trust, which manages Arrowe Park and Clatterbridge hospitals, is adopting a string of measures to reduce cases of Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) and MRSA.
Dr John Cunniffe, Director of Infection Prevention and Control, said: "Healthcare-associated infections are of great concern to patients and their families. Bare arms are a highly visible signal that our staff are able to clean their hands and wrists thoroughly prior to undertaking clinical care."