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Worrying rise in clostridium difficile as Government misses MRSA targets again

July 17, 2008 2:00 PM

Figures released by the Health Protection Agency today show a worrying national rise in cases of the hospital superbug clostridium difficile, while the Government has again missed its MRSA targets.

Across England, cases of clostridium difficile have increased by 6% between January and March, increasing in the West Midlands region from 1539 to 1569. MRSA cases are down nationally and in the West Midlands region cases are down from 137 to 111.

Local Euro-MP Liz Lynne, Vice President of the European Parliament's Employment and Social Affairs Committee, has campaigned on this issue in the European Parliament and reacted to the figures released today:

"Whilst I welcome the drop in MRSA cases, one case is one too many and the Government has still missed its target which suggests that the much publicised "deep clean" of hospitals has had a limited effect, as many experts had warned. If we want to eliminate these infections completely and tackle the worrying rise in clostridium difficile we must now learn lessons from other EU countries that have successfully beaten these infections.

"Screening healthcare workers, patients and even visitors for MRSA, for example, is still not routine in most UK hospitals, which contrasts greatly with the Netherlands and other countries, where workers are regularly tested and sent home if found positive, while infected patients are isolated.

"These latest figures will do little to allay the fears of many people who quite rightly feel that hospitals should be reassuring places to get better, not a source of further illness.

"It is remarkable that the Government's strategy has so far ignored the growing problem of superbugs in care homes and nursing homes, in particular as it is older people who are often most at risk from these deadly infections."


In January this year Liz succeeded in pushing through amendments to a European Parliament report on health and safety in the workplace, calling for all healthcare workers to be screened for hospital acquired infections.

Full figures for MRSA infections by hospital trust can be found at: http://www.hpa.org.uk/web/HPAweb&Page&HPAwebAutoListName/Page/1191942126541