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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Rise in superbug cases recorded by North Cumbria hospitals trust

A “significant rise” in the number of cases of a hospital superbug means north Cumbria has breached its annual target.

The trust, which runs the Cumberland Infirmary, in Carlisle, and the West Cumberland Hospital, in Whitehaven, had a target of no more than 40 cases of post-48 hour C.difficile by the end of March.

However, a meeting of the North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust board yesterday revealed that there were 12 cases in December alone. Of these, nine were at the infirmary and three in Whitehaven.

Chris Platton, acting director of nursing and quality, said: “At our last meeting we reported an increase in cases and warned if that continued we would breach our annual target.

“With the significant increases in cases in December, the trust has breached its annual target, with the current reported cases at 42.”

She continued: “That is a real disappointment after all of the hard work of the clinical teams.”

Mrs Platton told the board that a C.difficile sub group has been set up to try and work out the root cause. The hospitals have invested in new technology – already in use by Northumbria Healthcare, who are in the process of acquiring the north Cumbrian trust – as well as piloting chemicals which are said to be “more effective” in removing C.difficile.

Despite the disappointing news, Mrs Platton was positive.

“The target is to reduce the number of cases by a third each year,” she explained. “We always knew this would be a challenge, but we are still significantly lower than the previous year.”

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