Healthy signs

PUBLISHED: 11:40 31 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:28 06 May 2010

SIR, — The Health Protection Agency has just published recent figures about hospital-acquired infections, noting that over the country as a whole, hospital infections with the incredibly-challenging bacterium C. difficile have risen slightly, an increase

SIR, - The Health Protection Agency has just published recent figures about hospital-acquired infections, noting that over the country as a whole, hospital infections with the incredibly-challenging bacterium C. difficile have risen slightly, an increase of six per cent having been recorded in the first few months of this year.

However, this in no way reflects the position in the three hospitals run by the West Herts NHS Trust - St Albans, Hemel Hempstead and Watford - which has recently shown a staggering improvement. In the first few months of the current year, strenuous use of many antibacterial measures - screening of new patients, control of certain antibiotics, ward isolation and improved hygiene, deep cleaning, etc - has led to a 75 per cent decrease of infections with C.difficile as compared with the same period a year ago, the 354 cases last year having this time been reduced to just under 90.

The other headline infection, MRSA, has also shown a reduction in the same period, though not quite as dramatic - 21 cases of blood stream MRSA infections in the three hospitals having fallen by 43 per cent to 12 cases, some of which incidentally were acquired in patients before they were admitted.

Of course any infections occurring in hospitals are a matter for concern, but these improved figures are a clear tribute to the hard work and dedication of all the members of this Trust and there is every reason to believe this downward trend in infections will continue.

Hopefully at least this aspect of our hospital's performance will get the proper recognition it deserves, which incidentally was marked recently by having been listed as one of the "top-40" Trusts in the country by the independent hospital benchmark assessors CHKS.

DON WILLIAMSON,

Tippendell Lane, St Albans.

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