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Sunday 27th May 2018

Improvement for superbug deaths trust

9th January 2009

An NHS trust at the centre of a Clostridium difficile scandal has made progress on infection control and superbug rates.

Ninety people died as a result of two outbreaks of Clostridium difficile in 2006 and 2007 at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust in Kent.

An investigation by the Healthcare Commission found that dirty wards had contributed to the outbreaks and a subsequent report also blamed low staffing levels and uncovered evidence that staff had left patients to lie in their own excrement.

The Healthcare Commission has found that since then the trust has made substantial improvements and it has commended staff for their progress, although it stressed further work was still needed at the trust.

The Healthcare Commission's head of investigations Nigel Ellis said: "This is a very different trust to the one we investigated in 2007. It was never going to be easy to turn things around in just 12 months and indeed, there is still some way to go."

Kent Police and the Health and Safety Executive investigated the possibility of prosecuting staff and though no charges were brought, the trust's chief executive, Rose Gibb, resigned by mutual agreement following the scandal.

Mr Ellis added: "Staff at every level have put in considerable effort to make these improvements and should be recognised for their hard work.

"However now is not the time for the trust to relax. The trust's infection control systems still need further improvement."

NHS South East Coast has welcomed the  Healthcare Commission’s latest findings.


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