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Volume 485: debated on Thursday 18 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidelines exist for the isolation of patients being checked for C. difficile infection before a diagnosis has been reached. (244996)

Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Clostridium, difficile infection by a Department of Health/Public Health Laboratory Service Joint Working Group were published in 1994. These guidelines advise that "patients with diarrhoea and suspected of infection should be isolated". The guidelines are available on the Health Protection Agency (HPA) website, link: AutoListName/Page/1179745281238?p=1179745281238

A copy has been placed in the Library.

This guidance is currently being reviewed and the new version will be published shortly.

Further detail on isolation is available in the Guidance on Isolating Patients with Healthcare Associated Infection published by the Department of Health as part of the "Saving Lives" programme in 2007. As this document emphasises,

“the correct and timely placement of infected patients (suspected or proven infection) into single rooms can be very effective in reducing the overall numbers of infected patients; it can also reduce the risk of colonisation in other patients within the ward.”

This document is available on the HPA's website at the same link as above and on the Clean, Safe care website, link:

A copy has been placed in the Library.