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C. difficil kills patients at failing PCT

Approximately 90 people died from C Difficile at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust between 2004 and 2006, according to the Healthcare Commission

Approximately 90 people died from C Difficile infections at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust between 2004 and 2006, according to the Healthcare Commission.

The report, which was published on 11 October 2007, revealed that between April 2004 and September 2006 over 1,000 patients were infected across the trust's three hospitals.

The report said that based on a sample of patient records, the Commission estimated that about 90 of these patients ìdefinitely or probably diedî due to the bacteria.

The 2006 investigation revealed significant failings in the trust's infection control performance. It also found that when the first outbreak occurred in October 2005, the trust did not identify it as an outbreak, despite the doubling of the monthly number of new patients with C. Difficile. In the second outbreak, an isolation ward was not established for four months.

The Healthcare Commission also identified a failure by the trust board to address a range of problems including a shortage of nurses, poor care for patients and poor processes for managing the movement of patients. A lack of staff training, outdated infection control policies and bed occupancy rates of more than 100 per cent were also revealed.

Dr Malcolm Steward, medical director of the trust apologised for what had happened and added he was determined to continue to reduce levels of the infection locally.

Since the investigation the trust has introduced a range of new infection control measures. It stated that rates of C. Difficile were now below the average seen in the NHS in 2006, while MRSA levels were also better than the national target.

30th September 2008

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