Healthcare Commission Visit Date: 20.3.09

Kettering General Hospital has been commended by the Healthcare Commission for a pioneering process it has for reducing infections which is helping it to hit C difficile reduction targets two years ahead of schedule.


And overall the Trust has received a good report in most of the areas covered by a special Healthcare Commission Hygiene Code visit on January 27-28.


Assessors have asked the Trust to tighten up some of its hygiene measures in non-patient areas – for example cleaning store cupboards.


The Healthcare Commission is visiting every Trust in England during 2008-2009 to test compliance with the rigorous Hygiene Code.


Each Trust is assessed* against the code’s duties and any areas which can be improved are spotlighted and Trusts are asked to work on them.


The Commission also commends Trusts which have developed especially rigorous ways of protecting the public from potential infection risks.


Kettering General Hospital was commended for its Kettering Infection Predictor (KIP) system which assesses patients, on admission and during their stay, for their potential risk of developing an infection such as MRSA or C difficile.


The system means staff are prompted to ensure that infection control precautions are implemented for patients who, because of things like their age and personal medical history, have a greater potential risk of infection.


The KIP ‘tool’ was piloted at the Trust in 2007 and early 2008 and is now being used in most of the Trust’s wards.


Kettering General Hospital’s Chief Executive, Dr Mark Newbold, said: “The Healthcare Commission has commended our Kettering Infection Predictor tool as an example of best practice in the NHS.


“It also stated that we have done well over both the short and long term in reducing our MRSA and C difficile rates.


“Our latest figures show that we are achieving significant level of reduction in the number of hospital infections. On March 31, 2009, we are set to be one of a hand full of Trusts nationally to achieve a 30% reduction target for C difficile two years ahead of schedule.


“We have had only had 84 hospital cases of C diff so far this year (April 2008 - January 2009) – which is well ahead of our target to have no more than 142 in a year by the end of March 2011 (a 30% reduction on our 2007-2008 figure)


“We are also on target for having no more than 11 cases of MRSA for the year ending March 31, 2009. We have had 11 cases so far - with only a few days to go before the end of the financial year. Less than half of these have been acquired in our hospital. “


In 2007-2008 the Trust also achieved challenging 50% reduction targets for both C difficile and MRSA.


But the Healthcare Commission has asked the Trust to tighten up some of its hygiene measures in non-patient areas.


The Commission’s assessors looked at four of the 11 duties of the code. The Trust was found to be fully compliant with three out of four, namely:


  • Having in place appropriate management systems for infection and control (duty 2)
  • Having adequate isolate facilities (duty 8)
  • Having in place an appropriate policy around antibiotic prescription (sub duty 10j)


It was asked to improve its compliance in respect of duty 4 – providing and maintaining a clean and appropriate environment for healthcare.


The assessors judged that the Trust needed to add to its policies to ensure that there were was more documented liaison between its infection control and cleaning teams; that it needed to ensure all areas (including cleaning store cupboards) were regularly cleaned and checked and that it had appropriate hand washing facilities – including next to or inside cleaning store cupboards.


Kettering General Hospital’s Director of Nursing and Quality, Liz Libiszewski, said: “Overall we complied with the Hygiene Code’s regulations in almost every way.


“There were some issues identified around cleaning schedules in non-patient areas, cleaning store cupboards were highlighted, and around developing better liaison between our infection control and cleaning teams.


“We will be addressing all of these issues as a matter of priority.”

  • "Hygiene Code" – is the commonly used short form for The Code of Practice for the Prevention and Control of Healthcare Associated Infections published by the Department of Health in 2006
  • Individual Trust reports are available on the Healthcare Commission’s website www.healthcarecommission.org.uk