Relaxed hygiene rules ‘create a surge in infections bugs’

October 30th, 2015 Category: Local Authority & Housing

Relaxed hygiene rules have led to an increase in hospital viruses and bugs, new research has suggested.

Dr David Jenkins, consultant medical microbiologist and head of infection prevention at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust claimed  the fact that more people are using today's hospitals could be helping to contribute to the rise.

Furthermore, it has been found that the number of cases of Clostridium difficile (C.difficile) in NHS hospitals has increased.

This, according to the report, is due to the relaxation of rules that the government set out on fighting infection.

In April 2014, the number of allowable cases of C.difficile increased. At the same time, the fine for every 'excess' case dropped from £50,000 (69,200 euros) to £10,000 (13,800 euros).

The research suggests that this may already have had a detrimental impact on the health of patients in British hospitals.

The figures show that during the subsequent 12 months there was a six per cent rise in C.difficile cases.

This is the first increase since compulsory recording began in 2007.

Commenting, Dr Jenkins said: "A study we published in 2010 showed that if you increase your bed occupancy rate over 80 per cent, the risk of C.difficile increases by about 50 per cent."

One example that was given as part of the study was that of the Royal Bolton Hospital in Lancashire.

In this facility, the number of C.difficile cases rose from 28 to 48. At the same time, doctors were also given the right to decide which cases were "avoidable", allowing some hospitals to avoid hefty fines.

However, health bosses insist that the number of hospital infections has decreased.
A spokesman for the NHS stated in an interview with the Daily Mail: "The NHS has managed to reduce C.difficile infections by 75 per cent since 2007/08 and not all remaining infections are preventable, with many picked up outside of hospital."

The report serves to highlight the importance of introducing strict hygiene practices in hospital environments and employing professional cleaning firms to ensure that everything is carried out to a high standard.

The dangers of cutting corners and failing to monitor and review cleaning processes is self-evident, and increases the possibility of further mistakes being made.

However, the risks of C.difficile and other infections viruses and bugs can be significantly reduced through effective hygiene practices.