Glasgow & West Scotland

Vale of Leven C.diff probe: Shortage of wash basins

Vale of Leven Hospital
A total of 55 patients were infected by the bug at the Vale of Leven Hospital

An inquiry into Scotland's worst Clostridium difficile (C.diff) outbreak has heard about cleaning and storing shortages at the affected hospital.

A minute of a sisters' meeting in May 2008 noted there was not enough hand wash basins and storage units at the Vale of Leven Hospital in Alexandria.

A total of 55 patients developed the bug and 18 died at the hospital between December 2007 and June 2008.

C.diff was blamed for nine deaths and was a contributory factor in nine more.

The inquiry into the outbreak was shown minutes from a number of ward sisters' meetings at the hospital in 2008.

C.diff increase

Under the heading "Infection Control", a minute of a sisters' meeting in May 2008 said: "JH noticed a shortage of hand wash basins and storage units."

On Wednesday, Sister Lesley Fox told the inquiry that she had enough hand wash basins on her ward, ward six, and her staff would not have to walk far to use one.

On Thursday, while giving evidence for a third day, she said she did not have a shortage of basins but claimed in June 2008 she was made aware of the aim to have one hand wash basin to four beds.

C.diff was blamed for nine deaths at the Vale of Leven Hospital

Another 2008 meeting entry noted: "Helen O'Neill advised that there has been an increase in C.diff: eight in total; three have been attributed to the Vale of Leven Hospital, three patients have died.

"Ward F will be visited by Infection Control to provide a terminal clean."

Minutes from a sisters' meeting in June 2008 also stated some of the wards at the hospital would be reconfigured.

When asked about why changes were being introduced, Sister Fox said: "It was as a result of many visits to the wards by the infection control team."

She said one of the reasons for changes was the rules for the distances set between bed spaces could not be applied on all wards.

Sister Fox was responsible for a ward where a number of women tested positive for C.diff in 2007 and 2008. Some of those patients later died.

The inquiry, which is chaired by retired judge Lord MacLean, started in June last year at the Community Central Halls in Maryhill, Glasgow.

This section of hearings is due to run until 15 September.

A final report and recommendations are expected to be published by September 2012.

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