Betsi Cadwaladr ‘improvements’ after C. diff outbreak

“Very significant improvements” have been made at a health board following the outbreak of a major infection three years ago.

Between January and May 2013, there were 96 cases of Clostridium difficile (C. diff) at Glan Clwyd Hospital in Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire.

Thirty patients died while suffering with the infection.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board was severely criticised for how it handled the outbreak.

The chairman and vice-chairman later stood down.

Prof Brian Duerden, an expert in healthcare associated infection and antibiotic resistance, was commissioned to produce the report into the outbreak and was highly critical.

‘Seriously depleted’

In 2014, he reviewed the situation and said much important work had been carried out to tackle the problem.

His latest report, following a review in March 2016, will be considered by the health board on Thursday.

It said there had been “very significant improvements in the management arrangements and practice for infection protection since the earliest report”.

It also highlights “continuing gaps where recommendations have not yet been fully implemented and also current threats to the maintenance of a safe and effective service as a result of staff changes and a failure to fill key posts in a timely manner”.

One of his main concerns relates to “the seriously depleted state of consultant staffing in medical microbiology”.

Since April this year there has been only one consultant at each of the three main hospital sites in Bodelwyddan, Bangor and Wrexham, plus one part-time in Wrexham, and that, he said “is a potentially unsafe clinical service”.