WALES: Assembly Told: Spend More to Beat Superbug; Demand for Cash Boost as C.difficile Cases in Over-65s Rise by 13%
Byline: By TOM BODDEN
EXTRA cash must be directed towards the fight against hospital superbugs in Wales, Conservatives said yesterday.
Latest figures from public health officials revealed 642 cases of the gut infection Clostridium difficile recorded by North Wales hospital trusts in 2007, a fall from 730 the previous year.
But across Wales, the infection rate for patients aged over 65 rose by 13%.
The Wales Audit Office report on healthcare-associated infections put the cost of treating a patient with C. difficile at around pounds 4,000, suggesting a bill of around pounds 11m for Wales and more than pounds 2.5m in the north.
Next month health minister Edwina Hart will publish a report into expanding the role of hospital ward sisters or charge nurses, including giving them more power to improve ward cleanliness to help to reduce infections.
A study showed the overall infection rate by all bugs including MRSA in Welsh hospitals was 6.4%, lower than England and the UK and Ireland rates. But shadow health minister and Cardiff North Tory AM Jonathan Morgan said: "With every case costing the Welsh NHS around pounds 4,000 to treat, this is unsustainable.
"The millions of pounds it costs to treat C. difficile alone could pay for hundreds of new nurses or state-of-the-art equipment.
Patients have a right to expect to be treated in clean hospitals.
"Local health boards and trusts are already working within extremely tight budgets. Without extra investment then this problem is only going to get worse."
Figures for the rate of infection with C. …