Investigation into C. Diff outbreaks at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust

In 2007, the Healthcare Commission published a report outlining its findings following an investigation into outbreaks of Clostridium difficile (C.Diff) at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust.

The Healthcare Commission estimated that between October 2005 and September 2006, more than 500 patients developed the infection and that there were approximately 60 deaths where C.Diff was definitely or probably the main cause of death.

The report noted that the trust had not had an effective system for surveillance and that clinical management of patients with C.Diff infections fell short of an acceptable standard.

The trust struggled with a number of management objectives. The investigation highlighted that the trust had undergone a difficult merger, had been preoccupied with finances and had a demanding agenda for reconfiguration, as well as plans to get agreement for a new hospital, funded by a private finance initiative.

The impact of financial pressures had reduced staffing numbers and increased pressure to reduce the number of beds. The trust had to resort to opening 'escalation' beds, often at short notice and in unsuitable environments, without proper support services and equipment in place and without permanent staff. In addition, there had been a number of patient complaints highlighting poor quality nursing care.

Source(s)

Healthcare Commission.
Investigation into outbreaks of Clostridium difficile at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust.
Healthcare Commission; 2007.