Review of infection control at Royal Free Hospital as superbug cases rise

A review in to infeciton control has taken place at the Royal Free Hospital after a rise in C-diff cases was recorded

A review in to infeciton control has taken place at the Royal Free Hospital after a rise in C-diff cases was recorded - Credit: Nigel Sutton

The Royal Free Hospital is stepping up infection control measures following a rise in clostridium difficile (C-diff) cases.

The trust which runs the hospital in Pond Street, Hampstead, has recorded 12 cases of the superbug so far this year - four above the government set threshold.

Two external reviews have been carried out at the hospital, which reported good cleanliness and behavioural standards, but found improvements could be made in how antibiotics are prescribed to combat the illness.

As a result chief executive David Sloman said additional pharmacists had been appointed.

The trust also said it will ensure all staff adhere to infection control policies, including hand hygiene and dress code.

C-diff is a bacterial infection that can affect the digestive system. It most commonly affects people who are staying in hospital.

Symptoms include diarrhoea, cramps and a high temperature.

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A spokeswoman for the Royal Free said: “We take infection control extremely seriously and protecting patients from infections like C-diff is one of the trust’s top priorities.

“When the targets started in 2006 there were over 200 cases of C-diff a year, so we are one of the most improved trusts in the country.”

She continued: “We are doing everything that we can to minimise the risk of C-diff infections in our patients. We commissioned two separate external reviews, which were carried out by national experts.

“The findings of these reviews are expected soon and early indications are that the trust’s infection control policy and the practice of our staff is good, but there are some minor improvements that we can make in our testing procedures and use of antibiotics.”

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