Review of infection control as C.difficile cases rise in north Wales


Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board commissioning independent research into rise in infections

Infection control measures are being reviewed at hospitals in north Wales amid concern over a rise in C.difficile infections.

NHS managers at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board are improving ward cleaning following an outbreak of C.diff at Glan Clwyd Hospital in Denbighshire earlier this year.

A report found the average number of new cases had risen from three a week in 2012 to eight a week in March and April this year. The findings led to a review of infection prevention procedures at the hospital.

And Public Health Wales has said more can be done to provide a safer environment for patients.

Now the health board has revealed it has commissioned an independent review which will be led by Professor Brian Duerden, an expert in healthcare associated infections and antibiotic resistance and emeritus professor of medical microbiology at Cardiff University. He will look at the incidents and outline any improvements that could be made.

Managers said that, while instances of the infection had been falling over recent years in Wales, infection rates in the north of the country are higher than in other regions.

Acting chief executive, Geoff Lang, added that rates had been falling since the board took action to prevent infections spreading, including the use of decontamination equipment to ensure wards are cleaned thoroughly.

He added: “These measures have been very effective and the numbers of new cases has fallen significantly in recent weeks.

"However, if we are to drive down rates of C.diff and other hospital-acquired infections we recognise we need to adopt a more consistent and effective approach to managing and monitoring infection prevention and control across all our sites.

"The work carried out so far, combined with work conducted by Public Health Wales and the independent review by Professor Duerden will help us to identify ways in which we can improve."

He said the health board was also providing updates to Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) regarding the outbreak.

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C.diff is a bacteria naturally carried by some people in their gut. Infection can occur when this bacteria is disrupted, often by the use of antibiotics given to treat other infections. It can lead to severe inflammation of the bowel, which can cause diarrhoea and which in some cases can be life threatening.