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Hospital Healthcare Europe

Hospital outbreak inquiry urged

2 December, 2008  

Further calls for a public inquiry have been made by the families of hospital patients killed during an outbreak of Clostridium difficile.

A petition has been sent to the Scottish Parliament claiming infection in hospitals is “out of control”.

C difficile was linked to 18 deaths at the Vale of Leven Hospital in Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire, between December last year and June this year.

Michelle Stewart, whose mother-in-law Sarah McGinty was one of the victims, was joined by Sheila Chandler – whose father Alister Johnston, 66, died – and her husband David. The families say they have met with widespread public support in their calls for action.

“The main reason why we came here is because of the public support we’ve had,” Ms Stewart said.

“People stopping us in the street and saying they are terrified of going into hospital – this is happening.”

The NHS in Scotland has also failed to get on top of handling C difficile, with no set guidelines in place, according to Ms Stewart. “We’ve always said that we don’t blame individuals for what happened at the Vale of Leven – we blame the fact that the system has failed.”

Scottish health secretary Nicola Sturgeon has said she is reluctant to announce a public inquiry while a police investigation into the deaths at the Vale of Leven is ongoing.

Copyright Press Association 2008

National Health Service for Scotland