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Hospital nurses in North East slash C diff infections by 27%

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The director of nursing at a trust in North East England has praised staff for helping to reduce the number of patients falling ill with a Clostridium difficile infection while under their care by almost a third. 

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has seen the number of cases of hospital-acquired C difficile fall by 27%, from 26 throughout April to December 2017 to 19 over the same period last year. This was achieved despite a 32% increase in cases of community-acquired C difficile infections.

“This is a direct result of the hard work and commitment of staff throughout the trust”

Julie Lane

The trust said the achievement was made possible because it put in place a comprehensive reduction plan delivered by a multi-disciplinary team including infection prevention and control matrons, an infection control doctor and an antimicrobial pharmacist.

Actions included a focus on improving hand hygiene and antibiotic prescribing. The trust also carried out robust analysis of every reported case of C difficile to identify areas how it could do better next time.

Staff enhanced their cleaning and “barrier nursing” procedures to lower the risk of the infection being spread between patients.

Julie Lane, director of nursing, patient safety and quality at North Tees and Hartlepool, said she was “delighted” with the 27% reduction in hospital-acquired C difficile.

She added: “Infection control is a priority for the trust in terms of putting patient safety first and we are keen to drive the figure down even further.

“This is a direct result of the hard work and commitment of staff throughout the trust and I would like to take this opportunity to commend that effort,” Ms Lane said.

C difficile infections commonly occur in people who have been treated with antibiotics and it is the biggest cause of infectious diarrhoea in hospitalised patients.

Latest figures from Public Health England show that control of “hospital-onset” C diff infections has improved massively over the past decade.

In the 2007-08 financial year, acute trusts recorded 33,434 cases – this fell to 4,739 in 2017-18.

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