An investigation is under way at one of the country’s top performing trusts following an outbreak of C difficile.

Salford Royal Foundation Trust - which has been rated “double excellent” in the annual health check for four consecutive years - has had four confirmed deaths from C diff since March.

The trust is working with NHS Salford and the Health Protection Agency to investigate 15 deaths which have been linked to the infection, and they were forced to stop accepting new admissions to an elderly care ward last month when four cases of C diff were identified within an eight-day period.

Despite the trust achieving its 2009-10 target of less than 127 C diff cases, 50 cases have already been confirmed for April and May 2010.

A trust spokesperson said it had introduced initiatives to combat the spread of infection.

NHS Salford director of public health David Herne said that an “extensive review” was under way and a “robust action plan” was being developed.