Glasgow & West Scotland

Vale of Leven C.diff ward had 'poor record-keeping'

Vale of Leven Hospital
Image caption A total of 55 patients were infected by the bug at the Vale of Leven Hospital

A ward treating patients during Scotland's worst Clostridium difficile (C.diff) outbreak had poor record-keeping, an inquiry has heard.

Between 2007 and 2008, 55 patients at Dunbartonshire's Vale of Leven Hospital developed the bug and 18 died.

The manager of ward six insisted that despite absences in documentation, patient care was not absent.

Lesley Fox was responsible for the ward where a number of women tested positive, some of whom later died.

She told the inquiry, taking place at Maryhill Community Central Halls, that patients were the top priority for her and her staff.

Sister Fox said there had been "absences" in some care plans for patients and she was aware of the situation during that period.

"What I must say is that although there was an absence of nursing documentation, there was never an absence of care," she added.

She also told the inquiry, being chaired by Lord MacLean, there were times of "extreme activity levels" with nurses being interrupted during their tasks by things such as telephone calls and people coming on to the ward.

Sister Fox said: "It delayed care but I don't think it put my nurses' competence in doubt."

But she agreed with a suggestion by Colin MacAulay QC, senior counsel to the inquiry, that nurses being busy may have been a reason for the poor record-keeping.

Bigger picture

Speaking after the hearing, Michelle Stewart, whose mother-in-law Sarah McGinty died of C.diff at the hospital, said every new testimony brought families "one step closer to the answers and lasting change in the NHS that we all want to see".

She added: "We remain convinced that the reasons behind the suffering at the Vale of Leven don't just lie with the individual nurses involved - they are one part of a bigger picture."

This section of hearings is to run until 15 September.

A final report and recommendations are expected to be published by September 2012.

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