Trust bucks national trend of infections

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DESPITE a dramatic increase in the numbers of patients picking up life-threatening illnesses in hospitals, according to the latest NHS figures, hospitals serving Hemel Hempstead and the surrounding areas have bucked the trend and seen a decrease.

The West Herts Hospitals Trust (WHHT), which runs Hemel Hempstead, Watford, and St Albans Hospitals, has reported a fall in the numbers of infection rates.

Medical director and director for patient safety at the trust Dr Colin Johnston said: “We’re pleased to say that the trust has seen a significant decrease over the past five years in hospital-acquired infections, as opposed to the reported national increase.

“The trust has recently participated in a major study on hospital-acquired infections and has seen a dramatic reduction in infection rates from 8.2 per cent in 2006-07 to only 0.9 per cent this year.

“To put this into perspective, this means only one reported case of an MRSA infection this year and only nine patients reported with clostridium difficile.”

Also known as C. diff, clostridium difficile is an intestinal illness.

Dr Johnston added that the key to reducing infections is for staff to work together to maintain scrupulous cleaning routines, and conducting regular ward inspections.

The official figures published by the NHS information centre revealed that cases of infections had risen nationally from 22,488 to 42,712 in a period of 24 months.

Poor hygiene on the wards is thought to be behind the increase.

WHHT also said it has no reported cases of norovirus currently.