Hard work pays off with 30% drop in c difficile infections

A paper to be discussed at tomorrow’s(Wed) board meeting details recent striking reductions in the number of c difficile cases across Lothian.
The paper quotes national surveillance data showing a 30% drop in c difficile infections in Lothian from October to December 2008, compared to the previous quarter. (Jul – Sept 2008)

Dr Alison McCallum, Director of Public Health and Health Policy, NHS Lothian, said:


“These figures confirm that we are on track to achieving our target of a 30% reduction in c difficile by 2011.”


She added:
“We have introduced a package of measures which are now showing their effectiveness.  This includes new guidelines on prescribing for older people, changing some of the chemicals used in cleaning and continuing with education initiatives aimed both at staff and visitors.”


C difficile is linked with prolonged antibiotic use.  C diifficile infection involves bacteria in the gut which flourishes when antibiotics destroy the bacteria which normally keeps it in check.
The board paper refers to national monitoring by Health Protection Scotland, which collates data on cases of infection and sets that against the number of patients in Scottish hospitals to produce an incidence rate.  The latest figures from HPS show the rate in Lothian of c difficile infection as 0.92 cases per 1,000 occupied bed days (this records the period of time spent by people in hospital).  This is lower than the Scottish average of 1.15 for that quarter and 30% lower than the NHS Lothian for the previous quarter.
The board meeting is held in public at the Scottish Health Service Centre on Wednesday, March 25th.