Ipswich Hospital C-diff fears

IPSWICH Hospital chiefs say they are taking action after falling behind targets last month for stemming cases of a potentially fatal superbug.

Lizzie Parry

IPSWICH Hospital chiefs say they are taking action after falling behind targets last month for stemming cases of a potentially fatal superbug.

According to a report which goes before the hospital board this week, 21 cases of Clostridium difficile (C-diff) were recorded in August, 13 more than the target set for the month.

In quick response to the rise, the trust has requested a consultation with the Health Protection Agency (HPA) next week to help tackle the problem.

Jan Rowsell, spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital, said: “With any infection it is about early detection and acting swiftly on any symptom to make sure we treat the infection with the right treatment at the right time.

“We want to be infection free so this is something we need to tackle together with all colleagues in primary care.

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“We called in an outside agency to bring a level of expertise, experience and a wealth of knowledge to our situation. It is important that we have asked them in, we have said 'please help us'.”

Ms Rowsell highlighted the importance the trust has placed on reducing C-diff cases and hitting their target in the future.

“We want to understand why the rise is there and look at what we can do to treat people. We will take steps to make sure it is not an upward trend.”

Gwen Collins, director of nursing, added: “We have seen an increase in the community and the hospital; we expect very low numbers in July and August so we were very concerned because we don't know why it has happened.

“We are looking at every single case in July and August to see if there is anything we have missed, to address the issue head on.”

Other measures already implemented by the trust to combat the infection include a big investment in cleaning standards, as well as a major public awareness campaign about the importance of good hygiene.

Staff educational programmes as well as initiatives aimed specifically at the public are designed to keep infection control at the top of the agenda with everyone playing their role.

Ms Rowsell added that early indications for September show the number of cases of c-diff is already showing improvement.

The performance report also showed two other areas where targets were missed.

The hospital narrowly missed the standard, dictating 98% of people that come into A&E should be seen and admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours.

The only other area where the hospital saw shortfalls were in the administration of drugs to people at risk of thrombolysis.

The target requires that 68% of sufferers receive the necessary drugs within 60 minutes of a call.

Last month only three in seven cases -or 43.8% - with recorded call times were treated within the specified time period.

Ms Rowsell said: “We are currently working with the ambulance service to look at how these figures are recorded, to see how we can better record it.”