PERFORMANCE: The number of C difficile cases at Western Sussex Hospitals exceeded the in-month limit during October for the first time since April, board papers reveal.

The quality report presented to the November board meeting said: “October was a disappointing month for C difficile; the trust reported nine cases against a month trajectory of seven cases.

“Although four of the cases had been unavoidable, five could have been avoided if specific action had been taken,” the board was told.

Six cases were reported on the trust’s Worthing site and three cases on its St Richards site.

Root cause analysis found all three cases at St Richards were unavoidable and that care was appropriate in each case. Of the Worthing cases, three were unavoidable with appropriate care.

In the remaining three cases the care was appropriate, the trust judged. However, it noted the patients had all previously tested positive and therefore should not have undergone repeat testing.

The board papers said: “Matron scrutiny has now been applied to all stool specimen management. Although above the trajectory for October, the trust remains beneath its limit for the year to date.”

The trust noted that the position for MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and MSSA (Methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus) was positive.

Board papers said there were zero cases of hospital attributable MRSA bacteraemia reported during October, continuing a year long trend.

The papers added that there were 12 cases of MSSA bacteraemia of which four were attributed to care received in hospital. Both cases were reported in the latter part of October.