Four cases of a hospital superbug have been confirmed in North Cumbria, as NHS bosses introduce new methods of tackling the issue.
Last year North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust breached its Government target for cases of clostridium difficile (C.diff), with 56 compared with the projected 40.
The trust accepted that urgent changes needed to be made, and drew up an infection prevention and control action plan for 2013/14 for the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and the West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven.
The board heard, however, that there were three reported cases in April – on Elm C ward and Maple D ward at the Cumberland Infirmary and Honister ward at West Cumberland Hospital – and one in May on the infirmary’s Willow C ward.
The patients ranged in age from 49 to 91, and details of each case have been given to both the board and the staff to explore how the infection may have been avoided.
A report to the board asked them to note the reduction in C.diff cases in April and May, compared to previous months, but admitted the deep-clean process at the infirmary had been delayed following a health and safety incident.
The report stated: “The main area of concern is the rolling programme of deep-clean using hydrogen peroxide vapour (HPV) particularly on the Cumberland Infirmary (CIC) site.
“This has been delayed due to an incident on the CIC when HPV was used in a bay area and leaked out from the canopy. This incident is being investigated by the trust health and safety officer.”
The report continued: “Repeat visits have been made by the Trust Development Authority to Honister ward, where staff were praised for their hard work in delivering the action plan previously identified.”
Further work is planned to address hand hygiene issues, standardising cleaning and use of antibiotics.
By Emily Parsons, Cumberland News Group