Midland hospitals are losing their war against the superbugs C difficile and MRSA, as new Government figures revealed the number of deaths had risen by nearly a quarter.
The Office for National Statistics found the number of death certificates mentioning C diff in the West Midlands rose by 12.5 per cent, from 1,115 in 2006 to 1,255 last year, while the number of recorded MRSA-related deaths increased by 10.3 per cent from 183 to 202 during the same period.
The number of deaths where C diff is cited as an underlying cause rose by nearly six per cent from 570 to 604 last year, but the number where MRSA is cited fell by 17.5 per cent from 57 to 47. The ONS data also revealed:
George Eliot Hospital, in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, had the highest percentage of C diff deaths - with 299 of all 6,473 deaths (4.62 per cent) between 2003-07 - in the UK;
Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Edgbaston, had the highest percentage of MRSA related deaths in the region, with 28 of the 3,729 deaths between 2003-07 linked to the superbug, accounting for 0.65 per cent of its total deaths; nationally the number of reported deaths linked to C diff has more than doubled since 2005 from 3,757 to 8,324 in 2007. In 2006 the figure was 6,480; however MRSA-related deaths have fallen across the UK, for the first time since ONS records began in 1991, from 1,652 in 2006 to 1,593 last year.
A spokesman for University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB), which runs the QE and Selly Oak hospitals, said: “Infection control is the number one priority for UHB. Between 2003-2007 the Trust reduced the number of cases of MRSA by 38 per cent with a further significant reduction in the first four months of this year.
“The number of C diff cases also continues to reduce.”