Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust recorded 33 cases of Clostridium difficile by end of last year

Hospital trust fined over C Diff infection rate

Hospital trust fined over C Diff infection rate

First published in News by , Senior Reporter

THE trust which runs Basingstoke hospital has been fined hundreds of thousands of pounds for repeatedly failing to control the gut infection Clostridium difficile.

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has a yearly limit of 21 cases of C Diff before clinical penalties are imposed.

At the end of the third quarter, in December, the trust had already exceeded that target, with 33 cases of the infection.

With a financial penalty of £55,000 for each breach imposed by health watchdog Monitor, the trust has already paid out £660,000, and it faces further fines should more cases be reported in the final quarter of the financial year.

Speaking at a meeting of the Council of Governors, trust medical director Doctor Andrew Bishop said: “C Diff is an ongoing issue in clinical care. What is becoming clear is that trying to understand the causes of C Diff is difficult.

“Around 40 per cent of people who come into hospital will have this bug in their guts.”

Hospital patients are particularly prone to the infection. The use of antibiotics can cause the infection to thrive, because it will kill harmless bacteria in the gut as well as any bacteria that originally caused an infection. The removal of this harmless bacteria can allow C Diff to flourish.

Dr Bishop said: “What we have to be concerned about are the instances in which the infection is picked up in hospital.”

He reassured the Council of Governors that these instances were “vanishingly small”, according to research the hospital has carried out.

The meeting heard that hospital bosses are concerned at the impact the fines are having on the finances of the trust.

The trust, which runs Basingstoke, Winchester and Andover hospitals, is lagging behind its own financial plan with a deficit of £0.1million – £2.8million behind the planned surplus of £2.7million.

David French, financial director at the trust, said: “The problem that we face, in common with a lot of trusts, is that for every case over and above 21, we face a fine of £55,000.

“This has a significant effect on our profits.”

Hospital bosses have been in discussion with the health watchdog about whether the fines are fair, the meeting heard.

Comments (3)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

6:15pm Sun 16 Mar 14

Basing Bill says...

It beggars belief that cash strapped hospitals are fined whenever they record 21 or more cases of C Difficile. Does health secretary Jeremy Hunt really think that fining hospitals £55,000 for each breach will help them improve infection control. With less money surely the problem is likely to get worse. Surely a more sensible approach would be for experts in C Difficile infection to be sent to those hospitals to help staff get to the root of the problem.
It beggars belief that cash strapped hospitals are fined whenever they record 21 or more cases of C Difficile. Does health secretary Jeremy Hunt really think that fining hospitals £55,000 for each breach will help them improve infection control. With less money surely the problem is likely to get worse. Surely a more sensible approach would be for experts in C Difficile infection to be sent to those hospitals to help staff get to the root of the problem. Basing Bill
  • Score: 7

8:15pm Mon 17 Mar 14

shame says...

Must be a lot of dirty people in basingstoke
Must be a lot of dirty people in basingstoke shame
  • Score: -3

10:29pm Mon 17 Mar 14

Marina Morris says...

Basing Bill wrote:
It beggars belief that cash strapped hospitals are fined whenever they record 21 or more cases of C Difficile. Does health secretary Jeremy Hunt really think that fining hospitals £55,000 for each breach will help them improve infection control. With less money surely the problem is likely to get worse. Surely a more sensible approach would be for experts in C Difficile infection to be sent to those hospitals to help staff get to the root of the problem.
Agree totally, couldn't have put it better.
[quote][p][bold]Basing Bill[/bold] wrote: It beggars belief that cash strapped hospitals are fined whenever they record 21 or more cases of C Difficile. Does health secretary Jeremy Hunt really think that fining hospitals £55,000 for each breach will help them improve infection control. With less money surely the problem is likely to get worse. Surely a more sensible approach would be for experts in C Difficile infection to be sent to those hospitals to help staff get to the root of the problem.[/p][/quote]Agree totally, couldn't have put it better. Marina Morris
  • Score: 1

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree