Sunday, 30 October 2011

Superbugs in East Anglian Hospitals?

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Currently there is a major row at Great Yarmouth / Lowestoft over the James Paget Hospital. That is no secret and is being covered in the national press and on the BBC.

Questions are being asked in Parliament by East Anglian MPs following complaints by a large group of GPs.

East Norfolk and North Suffolk is in an uproar, with patients refusing to be treated at the James Paget.

The hospital is responding to repeated inspection failures over poor care of the elderly and nutrition problems. The government is acting led by the Minister of Health. Draconian actions are being threatened.

The BBC gives a reasonable summary here. More fiery accounts are available elsewhere.

The GPs ( a large group, not a few anonymous complainants) are likening it to the Stafford Hospital scandal with their excess deaths and chaos, suggesting that the problems are not just a side issue of poor nursing care.

The BBC reminds us about Stafford here

However, taking the lead from the GPs, it is perhaps an optimum time to remind readers that the James Paget  hospital has had superbug problems.  They are known to have led to 17 deaths a few years ago.

That was well covered by the writer on the newsgroup uk.business.agriculture at the time coupled with suggestions that zoonotic disease and local intensive livestock farming and processing especially pigs and poultry might be the source.

The cause was C.Diff 027, a pathogen shared with pigs. Quebec has had similar problems in both the hospitals and their pigs. That outbreak was known to the James Paget in 2007 and reported locally at that time.

The hospital was quoted in 2007 as saying  "We know there is a link between C diff and antibiotics however there are certain antibiotics which will not trigger the disease and we have been working with the local Primary Care Trust and GPs to get this message out. Normal hand gel does not have any effect, which is why stricter cleaning regimes have been imposed."

Those with an interest in the subject can check for themselves in the archives of uk.business.agriculture fully searchable on Google Groups.