AN NHS task group set up to reduce the numbers of patients contracting Clostridium difficile infection in Worcestershire has been shortlisted for a national award.

In September, 2012 a group was developed which brought together NHS staff from across the county to work on a plan to cut instances of C-diff. The group was made up of staff from Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust and what is now the local Clinical Commissioning Groups.

It also included Public Health and the then Health Protection Agency and together they developed a new approach, which has led to levels of the infection reducing across the county. In 2013/14 there were just over 40 per cent less cases than in the previous year.

Improved practices, additional education for staff, antibiotic prescribing and raising public awareness, such as the Take Care Not Antibiotics Campaign are said to have contributed to the improvement, which has been recognised nationally through the Infection Prevention Society’s award scheme.

The Worcestershire Health Economy C-diff Task and Finish Group has been shortlisted for the society’s National Team of the Year award and will find out whether they have won in October at the society’s annual conference.

Sandra Brennan, director of nursing at Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, said: “This is a really positive example of the whole health system here in Worcestershire coming together.

"It was acknowledged that to reduce instances of Clostridium difficile in our services meant everyone working together and we are delighted that this national acknowledgement recognises the work that has been put in and the effect it is having on reducing incidences of this infection.”

Lindsey Webb, chief nursing officer at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Our infection prevention and control teams working together across the health economy has played a huge part in us being able to reduce Clostridium difficile infections across our county hospitals.

"In 2013/14 we achieved our target to keep the number of Clostridium difficile infections below 48 and we are continuing to work closely together to reduce this even further this year. Congratulations to the whole team and good luck in October.”

On behalf of the three Worcestershire CCGs, Jo Galloway, executive nurse - quality and patient safety for NHS Redditch and Bromsgrove and NHS Wyre Forest CCGs, said: “The whole health system in Worcestershire is working in partnership to reduce instances of Clostridium difficile across the county.

"Evidence shows that this work is having a huge impact, with levels of the infection falling by 44 per cent in the past 12 months. We’re delighted that the work that everyone has put into this is being recognised at a national level.”