Over Ten Cases of C-diff a Month in Hammersmith Hospitals

MP calls for urgent action to tackle the deadly new superbug

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Patient and Public Involvement Forum

Official figures released this week have exposed an alarming spread of a new hospital superbug - Clostridium difficile (‘C-diff’). Twice as many people are now dying from major hospital-acquired superbugs than are killed each year on the roads.

Government statistics show a staggering 69% increase in deaths from C-diff, and an increase of 39% from the MRSA superbug.

Although a local breakdown of the deaths from C-diff is not published by the Government, official figures show that across Hammersmith Hospitals, there were 192 infections reported among those aged 65 and over between January and September 2006.

Local MP Greg Hands is now calling for the Government’s top-down, national targets to be replaced with measures of outcomes which capture the whole patient experience. This will allow the NHS to tackle all hospital-acquired infections, rather than focus on one at the expense of another.

He is also pushing for nurses to have adequate changing and laundry facilities – particularly given the hardiness of C-diff spores and their longevity on clothing.

Greg remarked, “Ministers are failing to face up to the dangers of MRSA and C-diff. I am very concerned that hardworking NHS staff are not getting the support they need to deliver a comprehensive strategy against hospital-acquired infections.

“The staggering increase in deaths from deadly superbugs is worrying enough. But the increasing presence of more dangerous strains of C-diff and MRSA will become an even bigger problem without an urgent and rigorous strategy now.”

February 28, 2007