Blitz on bug at Sheffield hospitals

Sheffield's Royall Hallamshire Hospital
Sheffield's Royall Hallamshire Hospital
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A blitz on hospital bug C.diff is being launched at Sheffield’s hospitals to ensure it hits strict targets to cut cases of the bacterial infection.

Health chiefs have drawn up a ‘C.diff Action Plan’ which includes deep cleaning wards, targeting high risk areas and the possibility of a new decontamination centre being set up.

Since April there have been 12 cases of C.diff at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, which runs the Northern General, Royal Hallamshire, and Weston Park hospitals, as well as Jessop maternity wing.

The hospitals have to meet a target of 77 cases this year. Last year there were 104.

A report to a meeting of the board of directors this week said: “The trust is just on the required trajectory to meet its C.diff target for 2013/14, but if the performance for the last six months is continued over the full year, the trust will not meet its target of 77.”

Measures are being taken to ‘reduce the risk’ of there being more than 77 cases.

By the end of this month, it is hoped at least two wards per week are being deep-cleaned at the Northern General, and one per week at the Hallamshire.

The feasibility of setting up an on-site decontamination centre to clean large equipment such as wheelchairs is also being considered.

Hilary Chapman, the trust’s chief nurse, said: “Thanks to the hard work of our staff we have seen a significant reduction in the number of cases of Cdifficile over the last five years. We now have 80 per cent less cases than we did in 2007.

“The Cdifficile action plan is one of the reasons why we have been successful, because we plan ahead to ensure we are doing everything possible to limit the chances of infection spreading or indeed being brought into the hospital.

“Our patients can be assured that once again we intend to do our very best to achieve the standards we are set.”