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York Hospital Foundation Trust rapped over infection rates
AN official warning has been issued to the trust which runs York Hospital for having too many cases of the clostridium difficile infection.
Since April, there have been 33 recorded cases of the potentially fatal infection at York Hospitals Foundation Trust – close to reaching the yearly limit of 43.
It now faces a fine of thousands of pounds after the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group announced its intention to give a contractual penalty.
The C.diff gut bug is one of the most seriouss hospital infections as it can be difficult to treat and deadly, especially in the elderly.
Dr Alastair Turnbull, medical director at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Historically we are a high-performing trust in relation to infection prevention, and clostridium difficile in particular. As a result, we have seen our thresholds for numbers of cases of clostridium difficile reduce year on year.
“Nonetheless, we would clearly want to see as few cases as possible, and we have put in place many measures to help us achieve this. These include ever-tighter antimicrobial control both in hospitals and in the community, an investigation as to the cause of every case so that lessons can be learned, rigorous environmental controls, and soon the use of probiotics for some patients who are receiving antibiotic treatment. We attached a very high importance to this, and it is monitored and discussed on a week-by-week basis.
“The bigger picture is that doctors worldwide are becoming increasingly concerned about antibiotic resistance, and it is of fundamental importance that prescribing of antibiotics is done responsibly, both in hospitals but also by other prescribers in the community including GPs. Patients too have a role to play in working with their doctors so that antibiotics are used only when essential.”
Other performance figures released by the CCG show there has been one case of MRSA at York Hospital Foundation Trust - which runs York Hospital as well as Scarborough, Malton, Bridlington and the New Selby Memorial Hospital and other smaller sites.
A spokesman for the Vale of York CCG said: “The current number of CDiff cases is forecast to be above the agreed trajectory. Therefore the CCG has stated its intent to impose the contractual penalty.
“The currenty quality indicator shows 33 cases for April to September 2013 against a national baseline of 43. The CCG and Trust are working together to readuce the number of cases.”
The clostridium difficile infection is a type of bacterial infection that can affect the digestive system.
It most commonly affects people who are staying in hospital.
The symptoms of CDI can range from mild to severe and include: diarrhoea, a high temperature (fever) of or above 38C (100.4F) and painful abdominal cramps.
CDI can also cause life threatening complications such as severe swelling of the bowel due to a build-up of gas (this type of swelling is known as toxic megacolon).
Spores of the C. difficile bacteria can be passed out of the human body in faeces and can survive for many weeks, and sometimes months, on objects and surfaces.
If you touch a contaminated object or surface and then touch your nose or mouth you can ingest the bacteria.
The C. difficile bacteria do not usually cause any problems in healthy people. However, some antibiotics can interfere with the balance of ‘good’ bacteria in the gut. When this happens, C. difficile bacteria can multiply and produce toxins, which cause symptoms such as diarrhoea.
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