Joy at zero cases of hospital superbug in Hartlepool and Stockton

Paul Garvin.
Paul Garvin.
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HOSPITAL bosses are celebrating after they reported no cases of a superbug during December.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has struggled to meet stringent NHS targets for the bug C Difficile in recent years.

But the trust reported no cases of C Diff at either the University Hospital of Hartlepool or North Tees in Stockton during the whole of December.

It follows much work by the trust to keep on top of outbreaks of the infection.

But hospital bosses vowed not to rest on their laurels and hope to see similar good results in future months.

Trust chairman Paul Garvin praised the work of staff involved and said: “There has bene a phenomenal amount of work done in time and investment right across the whole trust to try to keep on top of the C Diff target.

“I think the team have done an absolutely fantastic job.

“We want to be down to zero all the time.”

Some antibiotics can disturb the Chlostridium difficile bacterium that lives in the gut of around three per cent of people.

It can then multiply producing toxins causing symptoms such as diarrhoea which can be serious in high risk patients such as the elderly.

The trust had six cases of hospital acquired C Diff in October and November and was three cases under its target of 30 for the period of April to December.

It has a target of reporting no more than 40 cases for the year up to April.

Cath Siddle, director of nursing, said: “Ideally we would not like any of our patients to get an avoidable infection like C Diff .

“We are working towards continuous improvement and we still have a significant amount of work to do.”

Some of the measures taken by the trust to stamp out the disease have included chief executive Alan Foster writing to all 5,449 staff to stress the importance of following procedures like hand-washing, working with experts to examine hospital procedures and working with GPs to try and prevent the spread of C Diff in the community.

There were three cases of C Diff in community settings in December.

The trust did not have any outbreaks of the superbug MRSA in December and says it continues to take a “zero tolerance” approach.