Infection control teams will have to monitor two more types of healthcare associated infection, Andrew Lansley said last week.
Hospitals will have to monitor E coli and methicillin sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) from next year, he said.
Health Protection Agency figures show reports of E coli infection have risen 37 per cent since 2005.
In 2009, there were 25,532 E coli cases and 9,249 reports of MSSA.
Although many of these will be community acquired, the Department of Health hopes the reporting will allow trusts to determine which are occurring in healthcare settings.
The screening would be carried out by microbiologists in the same way as MRSA and C difficile and would require little extra work from infection control teams.
The move was welcomed by the Infection Prevention Society.
President Tracey Cooper said: “MSSA monitoring is a step in the right direction. We welcome anything that keeps healthcare acquired infections high on the agenda for the NHS. There are lots of practice-related issues we could add to improve infection control.”
Imperial College Healthcare Trust already monitors MSSA.
Director of infection prevention and control Alison Holmes said: “I welcome looking at more bloodstream infections than just MRSA.
“I think it may give us a better opportunity to look at things across the whole healthcare economy, to really look at the epidemiology rather than just developing benchmarks, targets and weekly reports around it.”
She added that E coli was one of the most common bloodstream infections and that a better understanding of where they were acquired would tie in with work the trust was doing on reducing unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions, which increase bacterial resistance.