Joint fight on rise in bug cases

The University Hospital of Hartlepool
The University Hospital of Hartlepool

HEALTH chiefs have vowed to work with GPs and other primary carers to fight an increase in the number of people contracting a superbug in the community.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust discussed the outbreak of Clostridium Difficile (C diff) - which causes severe diarrhoea and possible death – at a board of directors meeting.

There were five cases of patients suffering from the superbug in the trust’s hospitals – the University Hospital of Hartlepool and the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton – in October. From April to October there were 23 cases, and bosses have been set a target of having no more than 40 patients suffering the illness in total, from April this year to April next year.

There were 27 cases recorded in the previous six months, showing that four less patients contracted C diff.

The meeting heard the number of C diff cases in the trust’s hospitals was reducing, but incidents of the illness were rising in the community.

Cath Siddle, director of Nursing, Patient Safety and Quality, said: “I have established links with GPs and I’m going out to meet some individuals to bring some strategies together to move forward.

“If we don’t do that and we don’t take a community approach to the prevention of infection then we will constantly be on the back foot.”

A spokesman for NHS Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “The CCG continually monitors the rates of C diff in the community.

“The CCG is clearly concerned at the level of C diff identified locally and are working closely with local GPs, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust and NHS England to identify where we are able to make improvements to prevent this infection.”