CLEANLINESS and issues with a cleaner were among the reasons for an outbreak of a superbug at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

Problems with keeping a hospital ward clean were raised as one of the reasons the trust had met its infection targets. 

The hospital will now target wards in its Aconbury building along with its trauma and orthopaedics ward as these account for nearly 40 per cent of their C-diff cases. 

Paula Gardner, chief nursing officer for Worcestershire Acute NHS Hospital Trust, told a meeting that the hospital was not meeting four out of five national infection reduction targets due to the outbreak of C.difficile (c Diff).

The board of the trust, which runs Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Kidderminster Hospital and the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, discussed the issue at a meeting last week. 

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Paula Gardner told the meeting: “With regards to C-diff, where we have breached the target, there are a number of factors that can inhibit that in the sense of prescribing of antibiotics and the use of proton pump inhibitors, which is particularly used on the Gastro ward where we have seen our most increase.

 

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“We have also had issues with the cleaning within the Aconbury block particularly Aconbury 4 and we have had to instruct our (cleaning company) to remove radiator covers.

“And we have also had an issue with a particular cleaner, who we have given extra training to.”

The latest figures were revealed in an Integrated Performance Report.

The report said: “In 2021-22 we achieved four of our five national infection reduction targets.

“We did not achieve our C.difficile target.

“Analysis of cases highlights that we need to make improvements in the following areas: cleanliness (especially related to the estate and nursing cleanliness), antimicrobial prescribing, mandatory training compliance and ensuring we detect and manage patients with diarrhoea appropriately.

“Additional actions are being implemented, targeted initially on wards in the Aconbury building and T&O Ward as these areas accounted for 39 per cent of cases in 2021-22."

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Also at the meeting, the chief executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, Matthew Hopkins, welcomed the news that latest figures were showing the trust was consistently performing above the national average for sickness absence rates throughout the COVID pandemic.

The figures showed a 6.2 per cent cumulative sickness absence rate, including COVID related absence, for the trust against a national rate of 6.7 per cent, and a medical and dental absence rate of 2.2 per cent compared to a national average of 2.8 per cent and a nursing absence rate of 7.3 per cent against an average of 7.6 per cent.