A drive to improve hospital infection control in Scotland will see £5.4 million spent on hundreds of new cleaners, it will be announced.
At the Scottish National Party conference in Glasgow, health secretary Nicola Sturgeon is expected to tell delegates the cash will go towards helping health boards hire 603 cleaning staff - a move hailed as a positive boost for jobs in the current economic downturn.
The money is to be made available to NHS boards immediately so they can recruit the new part and full-time workers as soon as possible, Ms Sturgeon will say.
There were 10 more cases of MRSA in the last quarter of 2008 in Scotland compared to the preceding three months, with the October to December figure standing at 157. But recent figures show this was 24% down on the same period in 2007.
In addition, there were 1,299 cases of C difficile between October and December last year - down by 9% from the previous quarter.
Ms Sturgeon will tell the conference: ‘Nothing is more important to me personally than driving down the rates of infection in our hospitals.’