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THOMPSONS: INQUIRY NEEDS TO PUT WHOLE NHS APPROACH TO INFECTIONS UNDER THE MICROSCOPE 

Patrick McGuire

Thompsons Solicitors, the recognised legal representatives for the victims of the Vale of Leven C.difficile outbreak, are calling for the inquiry to put the NHS’s approach to infection control under the microscope.

The call comes as the nurses involved at the time of the outbreak begin to give evidence to the inquiry, chaired by the Rt Hon Lord MacLean, today (Tuesday 23 August 2011). 

The independent public inquiry was set up by the Scottish Government in April 2009, after a total of 55 people were affected by the infection at the Vale of Leven Hospital between December 2007 and June 2008 – 18 of them died.  

The Inquiry will investigate the occurrence of C. difficile infection at the Vale of Leven Hospital from 1 January 2007 onwards. The Inquiry will also investigate the deaths associated with C. difficile which occurred between 1 December 2007 and 1 June 2008.

Partner at Thompsons Solicitors and solicitor for the victims, Patrick McGuire, said:

“The C.difficile 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.

“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.difficile Justice Group, Michelle Stewart, whose mother-in-law Sarah McGinty, died of C.difficile 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.  Today 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 un-necessary 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.” 

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