Sir Richard Branson, the recently appointed vice-president of the Patients Association, wants all hospital staff to be screened for MRSA and treated immediately if infected.

He says any disruption caused would be better than the pain, misery and deaths caused by avoidable infections. He also called for managers who fail to enforce patient safety standards to be sacked.

Sir Richard said the health service could learn a lot from the airline and rail industries on how to avoid mistakes. "In the airline industry if we had that kind of track record we would have been grounded years ago," he said.

Professor Mark Enright, an MRSA expert, said the policy could be successful but that extra staff would have to be employed which would be expensive.

A spokesman for The British Medical Association also warned that the scheme would result in staff shortages. He said: "This proposal will cost a great deal of money and risk further reductions in the number of health professionals available to treat patients at a time when we are critically short of staff and beds."

Working with the Patients' Association, Sir Richard is organising an international conference in this year to examine what works best in infection control and patient safety. He will make recommendations to the government.

What do you think about Sir Richard's proposals?

Do you think staff should be screened for MRSA?

Should NHS managers face the chop if they fail to ensure patient safety standards?

How do you think improvements can be made to reduce the number of deaths caused by "avoidable infections"?