Home Health Requirements for research into NHS hygiene standards after the fifth patient has...

Requirements for research into NHS hygiene standards after the fifth patient has died of a hospital infection

The pressure of last night had increased for a government-led investigation after a fifth patient died after having contracted a bacterial infection in the hospital since December.

This time the outbreak in the intensive care unit at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley, run by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde – was the same board that was involved in the other four deaths.

Two other patients are also infected with the bacteria, stenotrophomonas maltophilia.

Health protection Scotland is deemed to have been told about the outbreak on Tuesday.

Close up of a petri dish containing the bacterium stenotrophomonas maltophilia

Yesterday, a spokeswoman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde confirmed that a patient had died and two others were infected.

She said: "Control measures were taken immediately.

"Unfortunately, a patient who was seriously unwell with their underlying condition died and a bacterial infection was one of a number of contributing factors.

"A second patient is treated and recuperated and a third patient does not need treatment and is stable in an unrelated state.

"Patients in the unit were screened and tests proved negative, and there were no other cases."

It is the fourth infection outbreak in Scottish hospitals in two months.

What is this error?

Stenotrophomonas maltophilia maltophilia is a rare bacterial infection that occurs mainly in humid environments.

In hospitals it can be found in fluids such as irrigation solutions – liquids used to clean a wound or to flush out a body cavity such as an ear cavity.

It can be found in intravenous fluids, including an infusion used to rehydrate a patient after diarrhea or vomiting.

The infection can cause bloodstream infections, respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections and infections at the site of the operation.

Those with significantly weakened immune systems are most at risk and infections in previously healthy patients are unusual.

It does not spread easily between patients.

Last week we told how two premature babies died after a blood infection at the Princess Royal Maternity Hospital in Glasgow. A third baby is stable after being infected with staphylococci.

A week earlier, a patient from Glasgow's Queen Elizabeth University Hospital had a fungal infection with mucor and was in a stable condition.

A second patient also had the infection but did not need treatment.

In December, a 10-year-old boy died after contracting cryptococcus, an infection related to pigeon excrement, at the QEUH.

An adult who was infected with it died last month, the Health Council said it was an unrelated condition.

The Crown Office examines both deaths.

Labor's spokesperson for health, Monica Lennon, called the news of the latest outbreak "extremely worrying."

She added: "The death of five patients and studies of four separate infections in three hospitals in recent weeks have rightly given cause for concern.

"The public must reassure that the quality of infection control does not slip away.

Calls for transparency from Minister Jeane Freeman of Health

"People are worried about cleanliness, hygiene and the safety of our hospital buildings as a result of persistent incidents.

"The Health Council and the government have not been open and transparent.

"Health secretary Jeane Freeman urgently needs to explain what is being done to protect the patient's safety and to reduce the spread of further infections.

"An investigation should be conducted into what went wrong in hospitals in Greater Glasgow and Clyde."]

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Lib Dem health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton said the new cases "outline a very disturbing picture about the state of hospital infections in this plate".

He added: "I call on Jeane Freeman to investigate how the NHSGGC puts infection control into practice, so that no other patient or staff member is put at risk and we do not see any future tragedy."

Tory Health spokesperson Miles Briggs said: "There can be no complacency for SNP ministers when it comes to infection control and inspection.

"The health committee of the Scottish Parliament agreed with my request to urgently investigate the recent incidents at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

"That can have lessons for all hospitals and NHS signs.

Pigeons at the top of the Institute of Neurological Sciences, building at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital

"The families involved will have questions that deserve to be answered, but the same goes for the patients, visitors and staff who use the hospitals daily.

"They will be extremely worried about this latest outbreak and they need to be sure that Scottish hospitals are still safe."

Freeman said: "My thoughts and sympathies are with the families involved and in particular with the family of the deceased person.

"NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde give support to the family and have communicated with the other patients and families.

"Although no additional infections are associated with this incident, a deep clearing has been carried out and additional control measures have been taken.

"Health protection Scotland is certain that the board has done the right research and that control measures have been taken."

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