MORE than 100 Wigan patients have been struck down with a potentially deadly superbug while receiving healthcare over the last year.
Over the last 12 months, Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) had 101 cases of the bacterial infection C-difficile confirmed - which has fallen from 109 in the year 2013-14 and 122 in 2012-13.
In the same two-year period, the CCG has managed the reduction of patients contracting another anti-biotic-resistent bug, MRSA, to less than a third, from seven in 2012-13 to just two incidents last year.
So far in quarter one of this year, (April to June 2015), no-one has been diagnosed with MRSA while 21 cases of C.diff have been identified.
Dr Tim Dalton, Local GP and Clinical Chair of NHS Wigan Borough CCG, said: “In Wigan borough, and nationally, the NHS has made significant progress in reducing the numbers of Health Care Associated Infections (HCAIs) both of MRSA and Clostridium difficile (C.diff).
“However, the rate of improvement for C.diff particularly has slowed over recent years. This is to be expected, but is in part because some of the infections are caused by factors outside of the control of NHS organisations.
“In Wigan, we have a zero tolerance approach to MRSA and set a challenging target to reduce the cases of C.diff to less than 100 this year.
“This considerable reduction is due to the collective efforts and collaborative approach of the CCG, the GP practices and the hospitals.
“We have a responsibility to ensure that there are systems and processes in place to support the management, prevention and control of Health Care Associated Infections (HCAIs). This is part of our wider strategy to support the delivery of clinically safe healthcare and drive improvements in the quality of care delivery across our borough.
“We work hard to understand the causes of HCAIs and all cases are investigated thoroughly by a group of multi-disciplinary healthcare professionals, including infection control specialists, microbiologists and specialist antibiotic pharmacists.
“Any lessons learnt from the investigations are shared with all our GP colleagues and other NHS organisations so that best practice in infection control can be embedded in to all our services.
“The GP practices and hospitals work hard to manage all the contributing factors and reduce the chance of any of their patients contracting an infection.
“The numbers show that our joined-up approach to reducing HCAIs is working and we are proud of the considerable progress we are making, but we are not complacent and are committed to seeing yet more significant reductions.”