Hospital risks heavy fines for infection rates

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AN UNDER-FIRE hospital trust risks being fined £44,000 for every case of infection above a nationally set maximum.

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the Conquest, has been set a target of 25 cases of the Clostridium difficile infection, or CDI.

The bug is a bacterial infection which affects the digestive system causing diarrhoea, fever and stomach cramps.

There have already been 16 cases this year, leading to the Trust’s chief executive to urge staff to be extra vigilant.

In a message to colleagues, Darren Grayson said: “We have been set exceptionally challenging limits by the Department of Health especially in relation to CDI. “Compared with our actual performance last year this is a very tall order and. We need to strive to ensure that we do not exceed our limit for CDI as each one of these cases has a consequence for the patient affected as well as a financial consequence for the Trust, with a fine of £44,000 levied by the Clinical Commissioning Groups for every case over our limit.”

But he added: “We have made significant reductions in the number of cases of MRSA bacteraemia and CDI over the past few years. This reduction has been to the credit of everyone who has played their part in reducing the risk of infection by maintaining good hand hygiene and adhering to best practice infection control guidelines.

“But we must constantly remain vigilant when it comes to reducing healthcare acquired infections. This includes good hand hygiene and maintaining the cleanliness of equipment such as commodes and monitoring compliance with all relevant policies as these all play a vital role in our fight against infection.”