Concerns have been raised with the cleaning contractor Sodexo at a Brighton hospital after three kidney dialysis patients suffered an unexplained infection.
They were among six renal patients to have suffered from an infection known as vancomycin resistant enterococcus (VRE) at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.
The main hospital trust board was told this morning (Monday 28 April) that nursing staff on the unit had reported significant concerns about cleaning.
A report to the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust (BSUH) board said: “Routine surveillance identified six patients in Renal as having VRE which is a higher than usual number.
“Two incident meetings were held and the samples were sent for typing.
“Of the six samples three were identified as being the same type indicating that cross-infection may have occurred.
“Possible causes were examined. The use of vancomycin has not increased and the patients were on the ward at different times cared for by different staff.
“However, it was noted that the three patients with the same type were all on the dialysis unit at the same time and the nursing staff reported significant concerns with cleaning.
“The Renal clinicians plan an audit of vancomycin usage and the cleaning concerns have been raised with Facilities and with Sodexo.
“Surveillance continues and no further cases have been identified.”
The area is currently being treated as a “high risk area”, making it subject to a higher standard of cleaning to try to prevent a recurrence.
Looking at the wider hospital, the report also said: “Concerns continue to be raised about the consistency of cleaning standards.
“In many areas, improvements are made which are frequently not sustained.”
The board report also touched on norovirus, also known as the winter vomiting bug.
It said: “A recent report from Public Health England … showed that BSUH compares favourably against the national average for mean length of ward closure and mean number of bed days lost.
“Given the challenging physical environment in the Barry and Jubilee building this is a testament to all staff’s hard work and high standards.”
The report said that there were six cases of MRSA – the hospital superbug – in the year to the end of March. Four were deemed unavoidable. The target was zero. The target for the year to next March is also zero.
And there were 48 cases of clostridium difficile – or c diff – compared with a target of 34. All but 12 were deemed avoidable. The total was down from 52 in the previous year. In 2009-10 the figure was 147.
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