Bury St Edmunds: Health chiefs fear C-diff targets will be missed

HEALTH chiefs fear they will fail to meet stringent targets set for the potentially deadly bug Chlostridium Difficile following an outbreak at West Suffolk Hospital.

According to the targets set, the Bury St Edmunds hospital should have no more than 29 cases of C-diff in the year 2010/2011.

However, West Suffolk Hospital has already had 28 cases and managers now fear they have little chance of keeping below the target set.

A significant cause in the upsurge in C-diff cases was a small outbreak of the bug shortly before Christmas.

However, the hospital said major strides have been made by the hospital in controlling the spread of infections. Levels of C-diff have fallen from 252 in 2007/08 to 72 in 2008/09 and 44 in 2009/10.

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Gwen Nuttall, executive chief operating officer at the hospital, said: “The safety of our patients is our number one priority.

“As such, reducing incidents of infection is something we take extremely seriously.

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“We have a range of stringent measures in place to help minimise the spread of infection, including a ‘bare below the elbow’ uniform policy and our ongoing hand hygiene awareness campaign.

“Patients who do show signs of infection are isolated and the affected area deep cleaned to reduce the chance of the illness spreading.

“We also carry out a detailed root cause analysis for each case of C-diff so that we can review factors which may have contributed to the infection, such as levels of antibiotic prescribing.

“These measures, coupled with the hard work of our staff, helped us to successfully contain a small outbreak of C-diff before Christmas.

“Although the outbreak has meant we are unlikely to stay below our year-end target of 29 cases, our focus will remain on keeping the total for 2010/11 as low as we possibly can.

“We are confident that the downward trend for cases of C-diff which we have seen at the hospital over recent years will continue and we will record a significant improvement on last year’s total of 44 cases.”

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