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Hospital battles to defeat return of superbugs

PUBLISHED: 19:12 28 May 2008 | UPDATED: 13:19 05 October 2010

AS MANY as 18 patients a year who have died at the Royal London Hospital caught a superbug infection, the Office of National Statistics reveals. The hospital named in a nationwide survey which identified where most deaths occurred involving MRSA and C.Difficile was singled out as having 72 patients who had one or other of the infections on their death certificates between 2002 and 2006.

By Gemma Collins

AS MANY as 18 patients a year who have died at the Royal London Hospital caught a superbug infection, the Office of National Statistics reveals this week.

The hospital was named in a nationwide survey which identified where most deaths occurred involving MRSA and C.Difficile.

It was singled out as having 72 patients who had one or other of the infections recorded on their death certificates between 2002 and 2006.

There were 51 deaths involving C.Diff between 2002 and 2006 and 21 from MRSA, totaling 72 during the four-year period, the statistics show.

The hospital in Whitechapel had more superbug-related deaths than neighbouring Homerton Hospital which had 59 and Newham which had 58 during this time.

The Royal London is battling against the spread of the superbugs, the Barts and The London NHS Trust which runs the hospital insisted.

It has an infection control team and is encouraging patients and visitors to reduce the risks.

"We have a strong track record in preventing and managing infections," said a trust spokeswoman.

"It is therefore disappointing for our staff when any patient contracts an infection."

The Government ordered a 'deep clean' of every hospital in the country last year, which involved scrubbing and disinfecting a ward at a time.

But a report by the Health Protection Agency a few weeks ago revealed that MRSA is back on the increase.

The Barts and London trust has some of the highest number of cases in the country.

The over-85s are believed to be the most affected by C.Diff, which causes severe vomiting.

Many are on antibiotics to treat other medical conditions. But these antibiotics eradicate 'helpful' gut bacteria which would normally resist the 'superbug' infections.

Many hospitals which recorded large numbers of MRSA and C.Difficile deaths were more likely to have higher numbers of patients generally, the National Statistics Office points out, which would account for the bigger number of 'superbug' cases.

The data also shows only where patients died, not where they caught the superbugs or where they received other treatment before their deaths.

gemma.collins@archant.co.uk


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