Wards hit by outbreak of stomach bug

AN OUTBREAK of a stomach bug affected wards at Worthing and St Richard’s Hospital in December, with eight people suffering from clostridium difficile (C. diff) across the two hospitals.

Steps have now been taken to prevent it spreading after five cases of the infection, which causes gastric problems, were reported in Worthing and a further three at St Richard’s, which is based in Chichester.

The figures were revealed at a meeting of the Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust board on Thursday, January 26, during which it was also heard ward matrons have met with medical and nursing directors to improve detection after four of the cases were found to relate to poor management of samples.

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Cathy Stone, director of nursing, said there had been errors in recording the cases.

“What is more disappointing is that we are reporting cases for patients that were previously positive – we haven’t been instrumental in their C. diff,” she said.

“With the care we are providing, we are seeing consistent improvements in the care.”

There were only three cases of the bug reported in November by the trust, which has set itself stringent new targets to combat the infection next year, limiting itself to just 75 cases across its three hospitals.

A board meeting of its directors last week also heard that there had been 27 cases of E. coli reported – 20 in Worthing and seven in Chichester.