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Russells Hall Hospital has replaced an expensive system of microfibre mops with traditional bleach cleaning after a rise in Clostridium difficile infections.

The hospital said the switch was an interim measure because infected patients quite often moved around the hospital, spreading the C difficile spores. Using bleach to eradicate the spores is the standard method recommended by the Department of Health. However, this does not explain why the microfibre system apparently worked when it was trialled for two months at Russells Hall hospital in early 2006.

At the time Dr Elizabeth Rees, consultant microbiologist for the trust, said: “The trials indicate that this new cleaning technology is more effective than some of the more traditional cleaning methods.”

This technology meant that staff no longer needed to handle heavy buckets of water and that the use of chemicals was largely avoided. However, since the hospital switched to bleach cleaning, the number of C difficile cases has dropped from 52 to 20. The hospital said that no decision has been made as to whether bleach cleaning would remain in the long term.