PERFORMANCE: Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust has been fined more than £700,000 by its local clinical commissioning group for lapses in performance.

Stafford and Surrounds CCG imposed a fine of £14,000 after 14 patients were forced to spend a night in the hospitals accident and emergency department due to pressure on its beds.

Patients were cared for by A&E doctors and nurses during its normal closure hours between 10pm and 8am. The hospital closed the A&E at night due to fears over patient safety and staff shortages.

The CCG also fined the trust £699,364 for breaches of clostridium difficile infection standards during 2013-14.

Bosses at the trust say there has not been an outbreak of the infection at the hospital as none of the patients affected had the same strain, suggesting it might be being brought into the trust from the community.

Director of nursing Suzanne Banks said in a statement: “We have not had any outbreaks of C Diff at Mid Staffs. There have been no links between any of the cases which have occurred, which indicates that our many infection prevention measures are and continue to be effective in preventing the bacteria from spreading to other patients.

“There are a number of factors influencing whether patients are susceptible to catching C Diff. One of the major factors is whether patients have been prescribed antibiotics, either by their own GPs or whilst in hospital.

“Our decision to always test the first loose stool was taken, not only because it is national best practice, but because this is in the best interest of our patients. As a result of performing this early test, we are able to identify the presence of C Diff as soon as possible, and we therefore begin immediate treatment.  As such, it is likely that we test and consequently identify more cases of C Diff than some other trusts.”