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Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust: Clostridium

Volume 467: debated on Tuesday 13 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the findings of the Healthcare Commission's investigation into outbreaks of clostridium difficile at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust between April 2004 and September 2006. (163594)

[holding answer 12 November 2007]: We take the findings of the Healthcare Commission's investigation into the outbreaks of clostridium difficile at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust very seriously. The Secretary of State (Alan Johnson) made a statement to the House on 15 October 2007, Official Report, columns 49-50WS, about C difficile and, specifically, the Healthcare Commission report.

The trust, working with its primary care trusts and strategic health authorities, have been focussing on improving their performance on healthcare associated infection (HCAI). The Healthcare Commission is working with the trust to put in place an action plan to address the recommendations in the report. We expect the new management of the trust to implement all of the measures which have been put into place to tackle HCAI and to meet the new public service agreement target to reduce clostridium difficile infections by 30 per cent. by March 2011.

The National Health Service Chief Executive wrote to every NHS trust with a copy of the report, to ensure that all NHS organisations take account of the Healthcare Commission's findings in their local plans and to reconfirm that the drive to improve infection control is a top priority for the NHS.

We have made it clear through the code of practice for the prevention and control of HCAIs, introduced in October 2006, that we expect the NHS to implement effective infection control policy and procedures. In addition, Secretary of State set out our response to the five national recommendations in the statement on 15 October.