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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

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North Cumbria hospitals’ dramatic drop in infections

Infection rates at north Cumbria’s hospitals have dramatically improved.

Clive Graham photo
Clive Graham

There had been serious concerns about the high number of patients contracting the hospital superbug clostridium Difficile (c.Dif) while at either Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary or the West Cumberland Infirmary in Whitehaven.

A major action plan was drawn up by bosses at North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust to try and reduce the number of infections, and a report proves their efforts have been rewarded.

A meeting of the NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group’s governing body heard that in the period from April 1 to June 25 this year, there were just four reported c.Dif cases across the two hospitals. This is below the planned number.

Clive Graham, director of infection prevention and control for the trust, said: “High standards of infection prevention and control are a fundamental part of the quality of care we deliver to patients. Improvements made over the past year include the implementation of a robust deep-cleaning programme across our hospital sites, and the re-launch of our ‘clean your hands’ campaign with staff, patients and visitors. “

He added: “There has also been improved performance management of wards and departments, using a bundle of measures to assess infection control processes with much-improved hand hygiene training compliance from staff. Together, these initiatives have resulted in significant improvements including a reduction in clostridium Difficile cases which is now well below the national average.

“This positive trend is continuing with only four cases between April and June this year.”

In 2012/13 the trust had 40 per cent more incidents of c.Dif than planned, and performance had not improved for three years. Key reasons behind the rise in C.dif tanged from poor record-keeping to a delay in isolating patients.

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