New scandal at Stafford Hospital

Stafford Hospital ignored expert advice on how to tackle outbreaks of a superbug that later claimed the lives of 10 patients, a public inquiry has heard.

New scandal at Stafford Hospital

Stafford Hospital ignored expert advice on how to tackle outbreaks of a superbug that later claimed the lives of 10 patients, a public inquiry has heard.

The Health Protection Agency desperately tried to get managers at the hospital to change the way they handled clostridium difficile infections after two outbreaks in 2008.

But managers at the scandal-hit trust refused to follow their advice and a much larger outbreak erupted in 2009.

It spread to several wards at both Stafford and Cannock Hospitals, killing 10 and infecting many more.

Yesterday the Francis Inquiry heard evidence from Justin McCracken, chief executive of the Health Protection Agency, who revealed the hospital repeatedly refused to act on advice and was reluctant to declare outbreaks – possibly due to a fear of bad publicity.

There was an outbreak of c.diff in July 2008 with eight cases on one ward, then in September and October there was another outbreak with four cases in 19 days.

Mr McCracken told the inquiry the HPA had "serious concerns" about the lack of an isolation ward, a shortage of staffing and cleaning of hospital wards.

He told the inquiry: "We felt we were banging our heads against a brick wall.

"It is clearly a matter of deep regret that our advice was not followed."

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