A specialist ward designed to stop the spread of infectious superbugs like clostridium difficile has been opened at West Suffolk Hospital.

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A £40,000 project has seen ward F12 refurbished and converted into a dedicated isolation facility at the Hardwick Lane site in Bury St Edmunds.

Hospital bosses said it will be used to segregate patients with high risk infections, such as clostridium difficile and MRSA, in turn reducing the chances of illness spreading to others.

The ward, which opened yesterday, is made up of eight single rooms, most of which have en suite toilet and shower facilities.

All of the staff recruited to work in the isolation facility have specific expertise and training in infection control, in turn ensuring patients will receive the best possible care.

Gary Ingalla, senior matron for 
medicine, said the new ward would help reduce the chances of the frail and vulnerable developing further problems.

He added: “This development comes as part of the trust’s ongoing commitment to further improve the environment for patients while providing the best possible standards of infection prevention.

“The new unit will allow us to manage our patients much more effectively by isolating anyone with c difficile or MRSA who is at risk of spreading an infection to others.

“This will make a huge difference to patients with infectious diseases and to their outcomes.”

Mr Ingalla continued: “As well as improving the experience they have of using the hospital, the unit will also reduce the chances of someone who is already frail and vulnerable developing further problems.”

The number of clostridium difficile cases at West Suffolk Hospital has more than halved over the last five years. In 2008/2009 the trust recorded 72 cases of the infection. In 2012/2013 there were just 33 cases, although that figure was up by ten on 2011/12.

Previously, 32 side rooms, spread across the hospital, were used to isolate patients with infection. These rooms will be used for other patients who require additional privacy.

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