Maidstone NHS trust to face £1.5m C.difficile bug fine

Maidstone Hospital At least 90 patients died at Maidstone Hospital between 2004 and 2006 in a C.difficile outbreak

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An NHS trust in Kent is to be fined at least £1.5m after missing its target for controlling the gut infection Clostridium difficile.

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust was set a yearly limit of 49 cases of the diarrhoea-inducing infection up to the end of March.

With three weeks to go, 52 cases of the superbug have already been recorded.

The trust runs hospitals at Pembury and Maidstone and said it was disappointed to have exceeded its target.

'Reassure patients'

At least 90 patients died at Maidstone Hospital between 2004 and 2006 in a C.difficile outbreak.

In a statement, the trust said despite missing its target, figures were down 19% on last year's total of 64.

It faces a £500,000 fine for every case of C.difficile it has above the target.

Dr Sarah Mumford, director of Infection Prevention Control, said: "We want to reassure patients that we are continuing to significantly reduce cases of C.difficile in our hospitals, and that cases continue to be at an all time low."

The trust said C.difficile affected less than one in every 1,000 patients admitted to its hospitals and in almost every instance it was caused by antibiotic use.

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