NHS hospitals have seen a significant fall in the number of Clostridium difficile cases over the last quarter, according to Health Secretary Alan Johnson.
Between April and June there were 8,683 cases of the potentially fatal bug recorded in patients over 65 – a decrease of 18% compared with the period between January and March.
The latest figures also represent a fall of 38% compared with April-June last year, when 13,924 cases were recorded.
Mr Johnson linked the decline in cases of C difficile to a reduction in patient waiting times, which now stand at a maximum of 18 weeks after referral from a GP.
“For the first time nationally, the NHS has passed an important milestone,” he said. “The average wait for in-patients is now at its lowest ever level since the NHS was created. This is an extraordinary achievement.
“Twelve years ago it was common for patients to have to wait two years for an operation and in recent years, C difficile infections were a significant challenge.
“It is immensely rewarding to see such significant reduction in C difficile following our investment in a comprehensive package of measures to drive down infections.”
Copyright PA Business 2008