Superbug levels squashed by half

by Grainne Byrne

Levels of MRSA and C. difficile in Scotland have dropped to record low levels since records began.   Latest figures from Health Protection Scotland show that levels of C.diff have contracted by 42% and figures for MRSA are down 25%.

Cabinet Secretary for Health, Nicola Sturgeon, said the reduction in infection levels are hopeful and show that efforts to eradicate superbugs are yielding positive results. 

Ms Sturgeon said: “I have made tackling hospital infections a top priority and I am encouraged that today’s figures show our strenuous efforts appear to be reaping rewards. 

The Health Secretary says that despite the promising figures in the first half of 2009, we must not rest on our laurels. 

“We are confident that we now have the right initiatives in place and the figures back this up. We are seeing significant and sustained reductions in infections which is good news for patients throughout Scotland. 

“However, there is no room for complacency. I want us to continue this excellent progress as we drive to eliminate all avoidable infections from our hospitals.”

In 2008, 18 patients at the Vale of Leven Hospital died as a result of a failure to tackle an outbreak of C.diff.  The total figure for deaths caused by C.diff in 2008 was 711, with 182 in greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS Board.

The Scottish Government are investing more than £50 million on initiatives such as MRSA screening, spot checks, and zero-tolerance on hygiene procedures to reduce infection rates by 30 per cent by 2010.