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Page last updated at 10:45 GMT, Sunday, 27 April 2008 11:45 UK

Our Survey

Panorama: How Safe is Your Hospital?

Panorama carried out a Freedom of Information survey to find out how much trusts and health boards were doing to protect their patients.


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Some hospitals are doing better than others in key areas known to have an impact on infection, such as bed occupancy, isolation of patients and hand hygiene.

But the central message from our programme is that every hospital in the land will have to be super-vigilant if we're to beat this super-bug.

Of the 170 trusts which replied to Panorama's survey, a majority of 95 had bed occupancy rates of more than 85%.

The survey also reveals that 94% of hospitals now have alcohol hand gels outside their infection wards - which is effective for MRSA.

But alcohol hand gels don't work against c.difficile.

Second outbreak

Carol and Jackie
Carol and Jackie said people were dying around their mother all the time
To show what happens when hospitals get infection control wrong, Panorama was given unprecedented access to the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells trust in Kent, where around 90 patients died in two outbreaks of c.diff in 2005-6, with more than 1,100 people infected.

The trust is now under new management.

One of the patients who died in the second outbreak there was 83-year-old Mary Hirst, who was admitted to Maidstone Hospital on 8 April after a fall.

An operation on her hip was a success, but she caught c.difficile on the ward.

When her daughters Carol Higgins and Jackie Stewart went to visit Mary, they were appalled to find her covered in her own excrement.

Sally Magnusson

Her daughter Jackie said: "She was just laying there sobbing with a mess all up her hands, up her arms, down her front.

"And she told me, Jackie, look at the state of me. She said, nobody's cleaned me up.

"She said I've made a mess and I'm so embarrassed."

Carol and Jackie claimed that people were dying around their mother all the time.

Carol said: "We actually joked that they might have a deal with the undertaker because we actually saw so many bodies going out."

Panorama: How Safe is Your Hospital? BBC One 10.20pm Sunday 27 April 2007.


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