Suffolk: Hospitals defend cleanliness levels

HEALTH bosses at two hospitals have defended their cleanliness levels after it was revealed that cases of a superbug were above their anticipated levels.

NHS Suffolk has revealed that 167 cases of the bug Clostridium Difficile, commonly known as C. Diff, were confirmed among patients in the region during the past 12 months.

In a report to the board of the organisation it was revealed that NHS Suffolk had set a target number of 119 C. Diff cases during the same period.

The report also states that the number of cases recorded at Ipswich Hospital were 35 - against a targeted amount of 28.

At West Suffolk Hospital, based in Bury St Edmunds, the number of cases was 21 against a projected number of 14.

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Siobhan Jordan, Director of Infection Prevention and Control at Ipswich Hospital said: “We are very slightly over our trajectory, however we have been within trajectory for the last two months and feel confident that we will be well within our plan at the end of December.

“We are actively working to address this and our actions include a deep cleaning programme which we are rolling out across the trust to ensure our environment is decontaminated to the highest standard, as well as appointing a new cleaning contract to ensure our on going daily cleaning is of a high standard.”

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Gwen Nuttall, executive chief operating officer at West Suffolk Hospital, added: “The safety of our patients is our number one priority. As such, reducing incidents of infection is something we take extremely seriously.

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

“If a patient does show signs of infection, they will immediately be isolated and the affected area deep cleaned to reduce the chance of the illness spreading.

“A detailed root cause analysis is carried out for each case of C. Diff which does occur. This helps us to identify any lessons we could learn for the future as well as giving us the chance to review other factors which can contribute to the infection, such as levels of antibiotic prescribing.”

C. Diff is an infection which often occurs in patients who are treated with antibiotics as these can interfere with bacteria produced in the gut.

It can result in victims suffering from diarrhoea and fever. Most people with an infection make a full recovery but in rare cases, it can be fatal.

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