Scandal-plagued hospital fined £700k for missing superbug targets

Trouble-hit Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust fined by GPs

Scandal-hit Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust has been fined more than £700,000 for missing targets for the control of superbugs.

It received the hefty penalty for breaches of Clostridium Difficile ( C.difficile) standards on its wards. It was also fined £14,000 after 14 patients spent the night in the A&E unit at Stafford Hospital due to a shortage of ward beds.

The fines were imposed by the GP-led Stafford and Surrounds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) which is responsible for providing healthcare services in the area.

Following the news, the trust’s chief executive, Maggie Oldham, apologised to patients. In a statement she said: “Stafford and Surrounds CCG fined the trust £14,000 for 14 patients who spent the night in A&E in February due to pressure on beds. These patients were accommodated in beds while the department was closed overnight and looked after by A&E doctors and nurses.

“The CCG also fined the trust £699,364 for breaches of our C.difficile infection control standards over the year. These breaches were unconnected and affected a small number of patients. The trust is working hard with local health partners to reduce the causes of infection in the community.

“I would, once again, reiterate my apology to all patients who may have been affected by these recent events and assure all our patients we are doing everything we can to minimise any recurrence.”

The trust's director of nursing, Suzanne Banks, added: “One of the actions the group took earlier this year was to ask University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust (UHNS) to carry out a review of our infection prevention and control procedures and practices, which they did in February. We received their report this month and our group is reviewing the report. Any recommendations that require action will be added to our ongoing work programme.

“Although we are disappointed that our C. difficile figures are high, we firmly believe that the figures do not always provide a full picture.

“We have not had any outbreaks at Mid Staffs. There have been no links between any of the cases which have occurred, which indicates that our many infection prevention measures are, and continue to be, effective in preventing the virus from spreading to other patients.”

It is believed the majority of patients affected are bringing the infection into the hospital rather than contracting it once on the wards. The over prescription of antibiotics by GPs is being blamed for the high incidence.

Measures are now being put in place to cut the number of prescriptions being handed out.

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