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Bradford hospital wards use vapour to beat superbugs
A new cleaning technique which uses hydrogen peroxide vapour is being introduced on wards at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust as part of an action plan to reduce the number of hospital superbugs.
The Foundation Trust, which runs Bradford Royal Infirmary and St Luke’s Hospital, last year breached the target for the number of cases of Clostridium difficile (C. diff) and has warned the regulatory body Monitor that it may not meet this year’s tough target of having no more than 60 cases during 2012-13.
A meeting of the trust’s board of governors was this week told there had already been 21 cases during the first quarter of 2012-13. However, it is hoped the new cleaning technique will stem the number of cases.
It will be introduced on seven wards across St Luke’s Hospital and Bradford Royal Infirmary where the majority of C difficile cases occur.
C difficile most commonly occurs in people who have recently had a course of antibiotics and are in hospital. Symptoms range from mild diarrhoea to a life-threatening inflammation of the bowel.
The wards being treated as part of the pilot project are the elderly care wards, a neurology ward, a medical ward and two surgical ward. An external company will carry out the clean over the next two consecutive weekends. It will cost the foundation trust £8,000 a ward. However, it could help the trust avoid the financial sanctions it would face if it were to breach the C difficile target.
Dr Philip Stanley, director of infection prevention and control and a consultant in infectious diseases, said there was evidence to suggest the process had a long lasting effect as it totally eliminates pathogens from the environment.
He said patients would be moved from the ward being treated, which would then undergo the normal cleaning process, before introduction of the hydrogen peroxide vapour.
The wards are then habitable again the next morning.
Dr Stanley said the vapour reached surfaces and equipment which were difficult to reach with other wet cleaning techniques. “This is becoming quite common place and there are a number of trusts around the country that use it,” he said.
“This is one of the actions that are being done to improve things, with the aim of hitting our target, which is proving a challenge.”
Chairman of the Foundation Trust David Richardson told the board of governors there was a cost involved in the introduction of the new cleaning system, but added: “We are investing very wisely.”