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New timescale for C.diff inquiry

20 January 10 13:50 GMT

The public inquiry into the Clostridium difficile (C.diff) deaths at the Vale of Leven Hospital in Dunbartonshire is to report by the end of May next year.

The timescale has been extended to allow the inquiry to look at related issues - such as the C.diff outbreak at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee last year.

A total of 55 people developed C.diff and 18 people died after the outbreak at the Vale of Leven in December 2007.

The inquiry, under chairman Lord MacLean, will start on 1 February.

It will hold a preliminary hearing at Dumbarton Sheriff Court.

It has been confirmed that oral hearings, to be held in blocks from the start of June, will take place at the Community Central Hall in Maryhill, Glasgow.

The inquiry will look at the circumstances surrounding C.diff rates at the Vale of Leven.

It will examine the effectiveness of "management and clinical response", including "steps taken to prevent or reduce the spread of infection".

The role of the health authority, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, in response to the outbreak will also come under scrutiny.

The inquiry will examine the steps taken at the Vale of Leven and NHS Scotland for recording C.diff, including for the purposes of death certification.

The systems in place at the hospital to identify and notify cases will also be looked at.

Increased rates of infection and outbreaks and deaths associated with C.diff, including the action taken to inform patients, relatives and the public, will form part of the inquiry.

Lord MacLean will be asked to report on what lessons should be learned from the outbreak and to make recommendations.

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