A leading lawyer says the results of an inquiry into a C. diff outbreak at the Vale of Leven Hospital must be applied across Scotland.
Patrick McGuire, who is representing the families of the 18 victims of the clostridium difficile outbreak at Vale of Leven Hospital, said the NHS’s whole approach to infection control must come under scrutiny.
Mr McGuire, a partner in Thompsons solicitors, made the call as nurses working at the hospital at the time of the outbreak begin giving evidence to the inquiry in the Vale of Leven outbreak.
The Scottish Government set up a public inquiry into the C. diff outbreak last year. Fifty-five people were affected between December 2007 and June 2008; 18 died.
The deaths of five patients during a C. diff outbreak at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, in 2009 are being considered as part of the inquiry.
Mr McGuire, who criticised hygiene standards at Ninewells last year, said there are concerns about infection control procedures across the NHS in Scotland.
He said: “The C. diff outbreak at the Vale of Leven is a tragedy that must never be repeated. Families saw their loved ones go into hospital and never come out. No one can begin to imagine what they’ve been through.’Full picture'”There are clear concerns over the quality of care given to patients at the Vale of Leven that need to be investigated, but this goes a lot wider the whole NHS approach to care must be put under the microscope to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
“The nurses’ testimonies will hopefully shed some more light on what was the root cause of this outbreak but we need to get the full picture to get proper and lasting changes in the way the health service controls infections like C. difficile.
“The families rightly want answers but they also want this tragedy to never happen again.”
Speaking on behalf of the C. diff Justice Group, Michelle Stewart, whose mother-in-law Sarah McGinty died of C. diff at the Vale of Leven, said: “It’s impossible to describe how it feels to see someone you love pass away in these conditions. Since Sarah’s death the family’s been through pain, anger, everything you can imagine. We miss her so much and we want answers.
“On behalf of the group I would like to say that the nursing staff are only one part of a wider picture. This is another step to understanding what happened to our loved ones but we have more answers to come from other medical staff and experts.
“The group is convinced that the inquiry has to get to the root of the systemic failures that led to so many unnecessary deaths. We want to know how this happened to our families and to make sure that no one ever has to go through what we have.”