Hartlepool's hospital trust has successfully reduced the incidence of a specific infection in patients by almost a third.
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has been reviewing its current cases of Clostridium Difficile compared with the previous year.
It has reported a 27% reduction in patients presenting with hospital acquired infection, despite the increase in reported community acquired infection which has shown a 32% rise.
Clostridium Difficile, also known as C Difficile is a bacterial infection that can affect the bowel and cause diarrhoea.
The infection most commonly affects people who have recently been treated with antibiotics and can spread easily to others.
C Difficile infections are unpleasant can cause serious bowel problems and are particularly challenging for frail older patients.
A multi-professional team including infection prevention and control matrons, the trust infection control doctor and an antimicrobial pharmacist work closely with clinical staff to reduce the risk of infection.
The trust has put in place a comprehensive reduction programme to deliver this huge achievement, say bosses.
This includes a focus on improving hand hygiene, improved antibiotic prescribing and robust analysis following each reported case of C Difficile to identify any areas for improvement.
In addition to this, staff work to reduce the risk of cross infection once cases arise by focusing on enhanced environmental cleaning and barrier nursing procedures.
This work involves staff from all disciplines and has been a real team effort that has resulted in improved outcomes for a very vulnerable group of patients.
The trust has also been actively involved in a regional group to reduce healthcare acquired infections.
NHS organisations are required to demonstrate stretching year on year reductions in C Difficile cases based on the previous year’s incidence.
Julie Lane, director of nursing, patient safety and quality and director infection prevention and control, said: “We are delighted to report a 27% reduction in cases of C Difficile within the trust.
"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.”