NHS Lothian pilots new ways of tackling C diff infections

CHANGES to antibiotic prescribing have cut the rate of healthcare-associated infection in some high risk areas by half, the board of NHS Lothian will be told this week.

Medics at NHS Lothian are piloting new ways of treating patients susceptible to clostridium difficile.

Trials at two city hospitals were so successful they are being immediately introduced at a third.

Older people with serious illnesses and conditions are most at risk of developing clostridium difficile infection.

Under the new rules, medics review the medication to be given to vulnerable patients. Developing clostridium difficile can be a side-effect of prescribing certain kinds of antibiotics for prolonged periods.

Dr Dermot Gorman, Consultant, Public Health, NHS Lothian said:

"Doctors are asked to be careful with prescribing antibiotics and to think whether patients need powerful broad spectrum ones. A list of antibiotics to avoid was issued and we try to ensure vulnerable patients don't remain on antibiotics longer than necessary.
"The trials were first conducted on selected wards at the Royal Victoria and Western General Hospitals. The areas were places where we had previously seen small numbers of cases. The trials showed that the new antimicrobial care bundles halved the rate of infection."

The new rules are now also being introduced at the city's Liberton hospital