C Diff Families Demand Answers

Clostridium difficile


The families of those who died in Britain's worst hospital bug outbreak are putting compensation offers "on ice" in a bid to get answers from NHS officials, according to their solicitor.

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust in Kent is being sued by relatives of about 20 people who died from or survived Clostridium difficile (C diff) outbreaks.

Sarah Harman, the solicitor representing the families, said the trust was offering undisclosed sums of money to relatives without any individual admissions of liability.

A Healthcare Commission report revealed last year that appalling hygiene standards directly contributed to 90 deaths at hospitals run by the trust.

Ms Harman said: "Many of the families made complaints about the care their relatives received at the time and were mostly ignored, downplayed or rejected.

"So when the Healthcare Commission report came out, what they thought were isolated cases were in fact a systems failure throughout the hospital trust.

"None of the families are typical of those to be taking legal action and the claims that we are making are very small in terms of amount but very significant in terms of principle.

"This is not just an issue of patients contracting C diff but of very poor nursing care, with some of the deceased having very poor pressure sores in contravention of good nursing techniques."

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Joanne Ashley from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "Patients and families affected in situations such as these are often left with no answers as to what happened and left to wonder how such a system failure can occur. It would be welcoming to see the NHS provide those affected, with the results of any investigations that may have taken place."