Killer bug cases drop again at Bassetlaw Hospital

Dr Ken Agwuh, the director of infection and control at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals Trust.
Dr Ken Agwuh, the director of infection and control at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals Trust.

The number of patients contracting a killer infection at Bassetlaw Hospital in Worksop has dropped dramatically for the second year in a row.

Clostridium difficile, also known as C.Diff, is a a type of bacteria that infects the bowel, causing acute diarrhoea, and most commonly affects people who have recently been treated with antibiotics. It is highly contagious, unpleasant and, if left untreated, it can be fatal.

However, the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, reports “a substantial reduction” in C.Diff cases. Between April 1 2016 and March 31 2017, cases of the bug dropped by 19 per cent in comparison to the previous year, which represented a 40% reduction since March 2015.

The minimum target, set by the Department of Health, for the allotted 12-month period at the hospitals run by the trust, was 40 cases. But only 26 were reported, which was a significant improvement.

Dr Ken Agwuh, director of infection and control at the trust, said: “We are very pleased to see this reduction, which represents the fantastic improvements we have made as a team for the benefit of our patients.

“Ensuring patients are safe while they are in our care is a top priority, and improving our infection-control measures is a crucial step in this process.”

These measures have included increased awareness of the infection among the workforce, better training, improved cleanliness and a better monitoring of patients susceptible to the bug.

“I want to thank every member of staff for their contribution in tackling this infection, and also for their dedication to improving the quality of care we offer,” Dr Agwuh added. “Our challenge now is to ensure that we build on this achievement and deliver another reduction.”

Between four and eight per cent of people carry the C.Diff bacteria naturally and harmlessly in their gut flora. But the balance between the gut’s good and bad bacteria can be upset with prolonged use of antibiotics.