Huge drop in number of patients affected by hospital superbug

Hemel Hempstead Hospital
Hemel Hempstead Hospital

A superbug’s infection rate has ‘fallen dramatically’ across three hospitals in West Herts over the last five years, according to a report published today.

The data, published today by the West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust, shows the number of Clostridium difficile cases at Watford, St Albans and Hemel Hempstead hospitals have fallen dramatically since 2010.

Over the last 12 months, the antibiotic associated diarrhoea commonly known as C.diff dropped by 18%, and, in the last five years, have improved by more than half.

The Trust says improved cleaning processes, stricter hand hygiene and more staff training are all helping to minimise the risk of infection.

Keeping patients free from infection is a constant challenge for the Trust, which treats 600,000 people every year.

It says visitors can do their bit to help prevent infections spreading by using the wall-mounted hand gel dispensers in all wards and departments.

Professor Tracey Carter, chief nurse and executive director responsible for infection prevention and control, said: “We are extremely encouraged by the continued reduction in the number of infections at our hospitals.

“This is down to the hard work of staff and represents a huge improvement in the quality of care we are able to give our patients.

“Reducing healthcare associated infections has been a key priority for our hospitals over recent years.

“Our mantra has been: the standard you walk past is the standard you accept and we have empowered every member of staff to take responsibility for the area in which they work in order to ensure that we maintain high standards of cleanliness and hygiene across all our hospitals.

“Ideally, not a single preventable infection should be allowed to develop in our hospitals, and that is our goal for the future.”