Hospital trust handed £600,000 fine for bug

Doncaster Royal Infirmary
Doncaster Royal Infirmary

Doncaster’s main hospitals trust has been handed a £600,000 fine for failing to meet its targets on a potential deadly hospital superbug.

Doncaster and Bassetlaw NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Doncaster Royal Infirmary, the Mexborough Montagu Hospital, and Bassetlaw Hospital, recorded 63 cases of clostridium difficile – commonly known as C.diff – which is an intestinal infection that causes fever, stomach cramps and diarrhoea.

The figure, between April 2012 and March 2013, compared to a yearly target of 48.

The trust was said to be ‘non-compliant’ on meeting C.diff standards and could be fined £3.5 million if targets aren’t hit by the end of the year. According to an official report there have been only five months where the trust recorded four cases or fewer of C.diff – which would have been in line with the monthly targets.

The £600,000 fine imposed by NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group is to be reinvested to try to tackle the problem, including £100,000 to be used for a deep clean.

The report stated one C.diff patient had been moved five times within the hospital, which could have been a ‘significant contributing factor’.

The trust is currently at risk of notching up 65 cases, based on current forecast. The report stated if the trust was seven cases above contract at the end of the year the gross penalty would be £3.5m.

Deirdre Fowler, acting director of nursing and quality, said: “We have been taking extensive action on all fronts and a review by external experts found we are doing the right things, although it can take time to see the effects.

“We are also looking at bed capacity and working closely with our NHS commissioners.”