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Infection prevention

The Infection Prevention and Control team at Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust is led by Dr Sara Mumford our Director of Infection Prevention and Control. A team of five nurses and an HCW, work hard to educate and support all staff, including porters, nurses, allied health professionals, pharmacists and doctors, as well as patients and the public to play an important role in keeping our patients safe.

Effective infection prevention and control depends on many things but good hand hygiene and the safe, appropriate use of antibiotics are some of the most important factors. Our staff should be making cleanliness and hygiene their top priority at all times so please do challenge them and ask them if they washed their hands before attending to you. If you have any questions about hygiene issues during your stay in hospital, please contact the nurse in charge of the ward, or contact the infection control team directly.

Healthcare practitioners have a duty to review antibiotics given to patients in hospital on a daily basis and stop them as soon as it is safe to do so. This helps prevent the emergence of resistant bacteria. The Infection Prevention and Control and Pharmacy teams alongside the Consultant Microbiologists are available to provide support to clinicians to help them with this.

Infection control is everyone’s business. Keeping hands clean at all times while visiting, staying at or working in hospital is the simplest way to help win the battle.

We ask all visitors to please stay away from the hospitals if you have been unwell in the previous 48 hours, particularly if you have had diarrhoea, vomiting or flu-like symptoms. This is to avoid spreading germs to others. While we understand that visitors want to be close to their family or friend who is unwell, we are sure that you wouldn’t want to put them at risk of infection, so we ask all visitors to sit on the chairs in the wards, rather than on the beds.

We ask all patients and visitors to wash or gel their hands before eating meals and to wash hands after using the commode or toilet facilities.

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust has achieved a total 96% reduction in Clostridium difficile over the last ten years. This culminates in the lowest infection rates the Trust has seen, proving that we have sustainable systems in place to protect our patients and provide safe care.

To see the Care Quality Commission (CQC) Outcome 8: the Hygiene Code, code compliance statement please click here.

Infection control rates

At MTW we promise to keep you as safe as possible from avoidable infections. As part of that promise, we publish information about Clostridium difficile, MSSA and MRSA bloodstream infections at our hospitals on a monthly basis. By necessity, the infection rates refer to any cases we have seen the previous month.

We understand that hospital infections are a serious concern to patients who want to be reassured that we are doing our best to protect them. Our hospitals follow national best practice to ensure any patient who develops an infection is appropriately nursed and cared for. We do this for the patient’s own wellbeing and to protect other patients.

You can help us prevent avoidable infections by cleaning your hands when you enter and leave our wards. By working together, we can make our hospitals some of the safest in the country.

If you have any questions about infection prevention, please ask a member of staff in our hospitals or contact our infection prevention team on 01622 227210.

Infection control figures

Figures from April 17 – July 17

Tunbridge Wells Hospital

  • C.difficile – 5
  • E.Coli – 12
  • MSSA – 3
  • MRSA -0

Maidstone Hospital

  • C.difficile – 7
  • E.Coli – 14
  • MSSA – 2
  • MRSA – 0

Figures from April 16 – March 17

Tunbridge Wells Hospital

  • C.difficile – 16
  • E.Coli – 28
  • MSSA – 19
  • MRSA – 1

Maidstone Hospital

  • C.difficile – 12
  • E.Coli – 33
  • MSSA – 8
  • MRSA – 0

Norovirus

Norovirus is a frequent cause of diarrhoea and vomiting in the community and is most common during the winter, but can occur at any time of the year.

This virus lasts 2-3 days and the person will have diarrhoea and/or vomiting. Some people may have a raised temperature, headaches and aching limbs. The illness is usually mild in nature and gets better without any medication.

However, the virus can spread very easily in the hospital due to close contact between patients and staff. Large numbers of patients and staff can be involved and it is important to stop the illness spreading around the hospital and to relatives and friends. In the hospital we use standard infection prevention precautions, including wearing gloves and aprons, to do this. Sometimes we have to close a ward to new admissions in order to prevent spread to other patients.

When norovirus is seen on a ward, visitors are restricted in order to reduce or prevent further spread of the infection.

In general, all visitors should wash their hands thoroughly both before and after visiting, and those who are unwell or suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting themselves should not visit until they have been symptom free for 48 hrs. 

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