C-Difficile – Ennis General Hospital

April 17th, 2008 - Pat Breen

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Health and Children (Ms. Harney (Dublin Mid-West))

by Deputy Pat Breen

for WRITTEN ANSWER on Thursday, 17th April, 2008.

* To ask the Minister for Health and Children if she will meet a delegation of the four Houses of the Oireachtas Members from County Clare to discuss the recent findings of the Health Service Executive review of the increased presence of clostridium difficile at Ennis General Hospital and the urgent requirement to implement the recommendations of the report including funding for the construction of additional storage and cleaning facilities for both medical wards at the hospital and the funding for the hospital development project; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

– Pat Breen

REPLY.

I consider the findings of this review into an outbreak of Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) at the Midwestern Regional Hospital, Ennis to be a serious matter and I would like to express my sympathy to any patient and/or family who has been affected by the outbreak. I would like to assure the Deputy that tackling all Health Care Associated Infections (HCAIs), including C. difficile continues to be a priority for the Government and for the Health Service Executive (HSE). Arrangements have been made to meet with Oireachtas Members from Clare on this issue.

In March 2008, I instructed the HSE to make C. difficile a notifiable disease. From May 4th, all cases of C. difficile and the associated disease, Clostridium Difficile Associated Diarrhoea (CDAD) will have to be notified to the relevant Department of Public Heath. All new cases of CDAD will be entered onto the national Computerised Infectious Disease Reporting system so that incidences can be monitored and managed appropriately where they occur.

While accepting that not all HCAIs are preventable, I am satisfied that this outbreak has been dealt with and significant steps are being taken to reduce the rates of HCAIs generally and to treat them promptly when they occur. I have been informed by the HSE that most of the recommendations in the Ennis report have already been implemented and the HSE will continue to monitor their implementation so as to ensure that the incidence of HCAIs is reduced to the absolute minimum and, particularly, that significant outbreaks such as this do not occur again.

In drawing up its Capital Plan the Health Service Executive is required to prioritise the capital infrastructure projects to be progressed within its overall capital funding allocation under the National Development Plan 2007-2013, taking account of the NDP targets for division of capital investment between the Acute and Primary, Community & Continuing Care pillars. The HSE has submitted a draft Capital Plan to my Department for consideration and approval in the normal way which sets out the HSE’s proposed short and longer term priorities and commitments. Consultation on this draft Capital Plan is ongoing between the HSE, the Department of Finance and my Department. The HSE has undertaken to provide additional clarification on its proposed capital developments and is currently engaged in this process.