What is MRSA?
MRSA stands for meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Staphylococcus aureus is a bacteria often found on the skin and in the nose of healthy people. MRSA is a strain of Staphylococcus aureus that has developed resistance to several groups of antibiotics which means that those antibiotics can no longer be used to treat infections with MRSA.
MRSA has become a common cause of hospital infections and healthcare workers can pick it up during the course of their work.
How is it spread?
The main way in which MRSA is spread is on hands which have been in contact with colonised or infected patients or in contact with contaminated surfaces.
What is the difference between colonisation and infection?
People who are colonised have bacteria present on or in their body without causing illness. Infection means the MRSA is causing a medical problem, for example, a chest or wound infection.
How will I know if I have MRSA?
You may be screened for MRSA if:
- there are cases of MRSA in your clinical area.
- you are starting work in the Trust.
- you are admitted to hospital.
- you are pre-assessed for a hospital procedure.
You will be asked if some swabs can be taken from your nose and skin. These swabs will be sent to a laboratory for testing. They will show if you have MRSA.
You will be given the results of any screening tests by the area which took your swabs, either Occupational Health staff, your hospital Consultant or your GP.
Who do I contact if I am found to be MRSA positive?
If your sample was taken by your GP or during a hospital admission you will need to inform the Occupational Health Department of your MRSA positive result.
If your sample was taken by Occupational Health staff you will be informed of your result by the Occupational Health Department.
Occupational Health staff will manage any follow up treatment and further screening as needed.
Infection Prevention and Control Nurses are available for further advice or support.
All discussions will be strictly confidential.
How is it treated?
If you are found to be colonised with MRSA, staff in the Occupational Health Department will discuss this with you and prescribe a course of nasal and body wash treatments.
It is important you use the treatments as prescribed and complete the full course. If you have an infection you will be asked to see your GP for treatment.
Will I need to stay off work?
You will not usually need to be off work. Occupational Health staff will discuss this with you following individual advice from the Infection Prevention and Control Team.
How will I know if the treatment has worked?
Following advice from the Infection Prevention and Control Team, Occupational Health staff will discuss and arrange with you a course of post treatment screening from your nose, throat and any skin lesions (wounds).
Results will be given to you, in confidence, by Occupational Health staff.
Is there any risk to my family and friends?
MRSA does not usually cause illness in healthy people. This includes pregnant women, children and babies. The best way to stop it spreading is by good hand washing.
If you need advice, or have any problems, please contact the appropriate number below.
University Hospital of North Tees
Occupational Health Department
Telephone: 01642 383211
Opening hours: 8:30am to 4:30pm (Monday to Friday)
Infection Prevention and Control Team
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation TrustTelephone: 01642 383280Opening hours: 8:30am to 4:30pm (Monday to Friday)
Comments, concerns, compliments or complaints
Patient Experience Team (PET)
We are continually trying to improve the services we provide. We want to know what we’re doing well or if there’s anything which we can improve, that’s why the Patient Experience Team (PET) is here to help. Our Patient Experience Team is here to try to resolve your concerns as quickly as possible. The office is based on the ground floor at the University Hospital of North Tees if you wish to discuss concerns in person. If you would like to contact or request a copy of our PET leaflet, please contact:
Telephone: 01642 624719
Freephone: 0800 092 0084
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 4:00pm
Email: [email protected]
Out of hours
Out of hours if you wish to speak to a senior member of Trust staff, please contact the hospital switchboard who will bleep the appropriate person.
Telephone: 01642 617617
Data protection and use of patient information
The Trust has developed Data Protection policies in accordance with Data Protection Legislation (UK General Data Protection Regulations and Data Protection Act 2018) and the Freedom of Information Act 2000. All of our staff respect these policies and confidentiality is adhered to at all times. If you require further information on how we process your information please see our Privacy Notices.
Telephone: 01642 383551
Email: [email protected]Privacy Notices
This leaflet has been produced in partnership with patients and carers. All patient leaflets are regularly reviewed, and any suggestions you have as to how it may be improved are extremely valuable. Please write to the Clinical Governance team, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospital of North Tees, TS19 8PE or:
Email: [email protected]
Leaflet reference: PIL1070
Date for review: 28 November 2025