PERFORMANCE: North Middlesex University Hospital has reported that unexpectedly high numbers of C Difficile cases at the trust are linked to increased admission numbers and a higher proportion of older patients.

The Trust had estimated it would have 21 C difficile cases in the year to January 2015, but the actual number is 37, board papers reveal.

Measures in place to tackle the problem include analyses by senior medical and nursing staff, a campaign to raise awareness of hand hygiene and environmental cleanliness, and audits at least once one a month of cleanliness of clinical areas.

Papers for a trust board meeting scheduled for January 29 state: “All cases of Clostridium difficile infection are reviewed by Haringey CCG as the Trust’s commissioners to determine if they were due to lapses in care and should count towards the Trust’s objective for the purpose of calculating sanctions. 25 cases from Quarters 1 and 2 have been reviewed and the review panel has judged that nine of these should count against the Trust’s [target limit].”

Elsewhere, the papers state that “the numbers of cases of C difficile infection in the hospital have been unexpectedly high, with a rate almost double that of the preceding year”.

The report adds: “Work is ongoing to establish the reason for this; contributory factors include the increased numbers of admissions and the increased proportion of older, more vulnerable patients, as demonstrated by the matching increase in the number of community-acquired cases of CDI identified.”