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C. diff report criticises infection control at hospital

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A hospital in Scotland where an outbreak of Clostridium difficile killed nine patients has been criticised for poor hygiene and use of antibiotics in an independent review.

The outbreak of the virulent 027 C. diff strain occurred at the Vale of Leven hospital in Dunbartonshire, between December 2007 and June this year.

According to the report, by University of Aberdeen academics, the hospital had inadequate isolation facilities and patients infected were cohorted together.

The review had been commissioned by the Scottish Government after news of the outbreak emerged earlier in the summer.

The report said: ‘The facilities were inadequate in terms of hand washing facilities, single room accommodation with sufficient toilets, appropriate spacing between beds, clinical and storage space to facilitate effective infection control practices.

‘There was no active monitoring of the implementation of antibiotic policies or feedback on usage to clinical staff.'

It added: ‘Patients and relatives reported that Infection Control Policies were inconsistently applied with regard to patient isolation, infection control practices and communications with patients and their families.’

Chief executive of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board, Tom Divers, said: 'The uncertainty over the future of this local hospital has undoubtedly been a factor in the lack of major modernisation investments.

'I can today give a commitment that this Board will bring forward proposals in August and September that will set out a clear vision for the future of the Vale of Leven site that can then be the subject of public debate over the next few months.'

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