HOSPITAL staff have been praised after smashing targets for low superbug levels.
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust recorded just three cases of hospital-acquired MRSA in 2010.
This is against an end-of-year target of six.
Figures show a sustained reduction in cases of MRSA, an infection which is resistant to a range of drugs, since 2006.
In the period from July to September 2006, there were eight cases. But that has dropped gradually over the last four years, with none reported in January to September this year.
Four community-acquired cases of MRSA have been reported since April 2010.
The trust also recorded 39 cases of C-difficile, a gut infection which can result in diarrhoea and vomiting, against a year-end target of 127.
Sue Smith, the trust’s director of nursing and patient safety, told a meeting of the trust’s board of directors: “I would like to commend the way our staff manage these outbreaks.
“All staff ensure that the bug that has been known to close whole hospitals has been prevented from spreading.
Rita Taylor, the trust’s senior independent non executive director, said: “It has been an extremely challenging period for staff to be able to maintain the results around MRSA and C-difficile that year.
“Thirty nine cases against a target of 127 is really very, very good.”
Trust chief executive Alan Foster said: “Sustaining the good performance and continuing to improve requires a lot of effort.
“We have as a board, not only invested money but time in ensuring mandatory training in good practice is embedded throughout the trust.”
He said new targets being introduced next year would see numbers of cases expected to be limited to one.
Although he said this was “unrealistic”, he added the trust would strive to improve on this year’s results.