NHS Trust could face huge fines over superbug infections

NHS bosses risk being fined tens of thousands of pounds if they miss their targets in controlling hospital acquired infections.

The Department of Health has set East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the Conquest and Eastbourne DGH, tough limits on the number of MRSA and Clostridium difficile (C diff) cases it can tolerate before the trust is fined.

The limit over the next year until April 1, 2014 is two for MRSA and 25 for C diff.

ESHT has struggled to clear its debts in recent years and only broke even at the end of March this year.

Chief executive Darren Grayson said: “We have been set exceptionally challenging limits by the Department of Health especially in relation to C diff. Our limit for C diff is 25 cases and our limit for MRSA is two. Compared with our actual performance last year this is a very tall order and requires everyone to play their part. It is concerning that we have already seen 10 cases of C diff in the first couple of months this year. Exceeding our limit for CDI also has a financial consequence as well. We will be fined £44,000 by the Clinical Commissioning Groups for every case over our limit.”

In the last year ESHT saw two cases of MRSA and 51 C diff incidents.