Doncaster hospitals staff tackle spread of deadly infection

Doncaster Royal Infirmary.
Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

The number of patients contracting a potentially deadly infection has been significantly reduced in hospitals across Doncaster.

Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Doncaster Royal Infirmary and Mexborough’s Montagu Hospital, has seen a substantial reduction in the number of patients developing the clostridium difficile (C.Diff) infection.

Between April 1 last year and March 31 2016, hospital staff helped reduce cases of the infection by 27 per cent in comparison to the previous 12 months.

In the allotted period, just 32 cases were reported against a Department of Health target of 40.

Clostridium difficile, also known as C. difficile or C. diff, is a type of bacteria that infects the bowel and most commonly affects people who have recently been treated with antibiotics. The infection is highly contagious and, if left untreated, can be fatal. Hospital chiefs say the reduction is due to a number of factors such as increased awareness of the infection amongst the workforce, better prescribing techniques, improved cleanliness and an emphasis on monitoring patients.

Dr Ken Agwuh, director of infection and control at the Trust, said: “Keeping our patients safe while they are in our care is our top priority, and improving our infection control measures is a vital part of this.

“We are very pleased to see such a reduction in clostridium difficile at the Trust and this represents a significant improvement in the way we approach the infection. I want to thank every member of staff for their contribution in tackling C.Diff and also for their dedication to improving the quality of care we offer our patients. Our challenge now is to ensure we build on this reduction.”

Between four and eight per cent of people carry the C. Difficile bacteria naturally and harmlessly in their gut flora. But the balance between the gut’s good and bad bacteria can be upset with prolonged use of powerful antibiotics.