Nurses have been praised by the Health Protection Agency for their part in hitting the government’s target for reducing cases of C. diff.
In October 2007 ministers set a target of reducing C. diff cases by 30% by 2010-2011, starting from the base level in 2007-2008.
According to Health Protection Agency figures published last week, the NHS has met this target ahead of schedule.
There were 36,097 cases of C. diff in patients aged two years and over reported between April 2008 and March 2009, representing a 35% reduction on the 55,499 cases reported in financial year 2007-2008.
Last year the NHS met the government’s target to halve MRSA rates from a November 2004 baseline.
The HPA figures show there were 2,932 cases of MRSA reported from April 2008 to March 2009, representing a 34% decrease on the 4,451 reports received in the previous 12 months.
Professor Mike Catchpole, deputy director of the agency’s centre for infections, said: ‘The substantial drop we have seen in MRSA bloodstream infections and C. diff over the past year is impressive and a credit to the hard work of our colleagues in the NHS, strengthening good practice in infection control.’
RCN general secretary Peter Carter added: ‘The leadership and innovation of nurses has been central to driving down infection rates, and improving the quality of care for all patients.’
The new health secretary, Andy Burnham, said he was ‘exceptionally proud’ of NHS staff for meeting the target early.
However, he reiterated plans to develop a set of new minimum standards for MRSA infections, as revealed earlier this month by Nursing Times. ‘One preventable infection is one too many,’ he said.