Hospitals across the region have reached a turning point in tackling superbug Clostridium difficile (C.diff) according to latest quarterly figures.
Numbers reported of patients aged two and over with the deadly infection have been cut at all Midland trusts – except two – compared to the previous quarter.
The West Midlands as a whole saw a reduction of C.diff cases by 27 per cent between the April to June period last year and the July to September quarter of the same year.
Only Mid Staffordshire Trust and South Warwickshire General Hospitals bucked the trend, seeing slightly more patients test positive for the bug that causes diarrhoea and dehydration.
Some of the most impressive results were recorded by Dudley Group of Hospitals, George Elliot Hospital, in Nuneaton, which more than halved cases.
University Hospital Birmingham Trust (UHB), in charge of Queen Elizabeth and Selly Oak hospitals, saw a 40 per cent decrease from 221 cases between April and June to 127 cases between July and September. However, UHB had the second highest number of C.diff infections in the region after Heart of England Trust, in charge of Sutton Coldfield Good Hope, Heartlands and Solihull hospitals, recorded 156 cases in the latest results.
Professor Mike Catchpole, director of the Health Protection Agency’s Centre for Infections, which issued the latest figures, said: “NHS staff are working hard to fight healthcare associated infections, such as C.diff, and their hard work is paying off.
“But winning against these infections will only happen if this hard work continues.
“Healthcare associated infections are a global problem and remain a challenge for all of us. Robust infection control and appropriate use of antibiotics remain key to tackling infections.”
A spokeswoman for Dudley Group of Hospitals said: “Our cleaning, infection prevention and clinical staff throughout our hospitals are working non-stop to stamp out the spread of infections.
“We were really pleased that our robust efforts have resulted in a decrease in C.diff infections.
“Measures we have set up include a dedicated isolation unit and additional cleaning to ensure every room or bay is thoroughly cleaned after each patient, including removing the curtains, cleaning of the bed and all equipment.”
The trust also has infection control champions in the nursing staff, who have the responsibility of making sure staff, patients and visitors follow the hygiene code and help prevent infections.