Hygiene good at hospital in C diff deaths probe

Vale of Leven Hospital is subject to a public inquiry investigating the treatment of 63 patients, 31 of whom died. Picture: TSPL

Vale of Leven Hospital is subject to a public inquiry investigating the treatment of 63 patients, 31 of whom died. Picture: TSPL

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A HOSPITAL at the centre of a deadly outbreak of clostridium difficile six years ago has made significant improvements, a report says.

The Healthcare Environment Inspectorate (HEI) said it found good levels of cleanliness on wards at the Vale of Leven Hospital in Alexandria.

However, inspectors said urgent action was needed to make sure that staff followed national guidance on the use of the correct gloves when treating patients.

Their report also said improvements were needed to the management of waste after inspectors found clinical rubbish in domestic bins and overflowing waste units.

The hospital is currently subject to a public inquiry investigating the treatment of 63 patients between 1 December, 2007 and 1 June, 2008, 31 of whom died. Of these deaths, C difficile infection was identified as cause of death or a contributory factor in 28 cases.

The inquiry has been subject to numerous delays, having been initially expected to report in 2011. It is now due out later this year.

Susan Brimelow, HEI Chief Inspector, said: “This inspection found evidence that Vale of Leven Hospital is working to comply with the majority of standards to protect patients, staff and visitors from acquiring an infection.

“Patients spoke positively about the cleanliness of their wards and staff were aware of their individual responsibilities for the prevention and control of infection.

“We also found significant improvements have been made to the physiotherapy department, which has been refurbished since our last inspection.

“We did, however, identify areas where improvements must be made within one month. These include ensuring gloves selection policy and glove usage by staff comply with current guidance, and that standard infection control precautions are applied in relation to waste management and disposal.”

Health Secretary Alex Neil said welcomed the report which he said showed that the Vale of Leven Hospital was driving up quality improvements.

“While the hospital has made significant progress in this area, achieved by supporting staff to embed good practice across all services, we can never be complacent about healthcare associated infections,” he said.

“The Government is committed to looking critically at all services to ensure they are providing the highest standard of care for patients and these inspections are one of a range of measures we are taking to tackle healthcare associated infections.

“I want every patient to have complete confidence in the cleanliness of their local hospital and the quality and safety of its services. While the Vale of Leven has undergone service redesign and improvement I expect NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to keep working hard to address the issues flagged in this report and continue to make progress in this key priority area.”


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