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GPs should be held to account on C. diff infections, say prescribing experts

By Nigel Praities

PCTs have been urged by prescribing experts to crack down on GP practices in order to reduce the rates of Clostridium difficile infection in the community.

The call - from the influential journal Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin – comes after the Care Quality Commission reported that hospitals had met the target to reduce C. difficile infections - by 30% by 2010/11 - ahead of schedule.

The editorial says C. difficile infection rates have fallen because of major changes in infection control in hospitals, but that 40% of new cases occurred in the community and rates have risen ‘markedly' in the UK in the first half of this decade.

It says the causes of infection are unclear and calls for GPs, out-of-hours services and private providers to be audited on their infection control and antibiotics policies for the ‘root cause' of infections to be clarified.

'There is also considerable potential for transmission in community care settings (e.g. care homes). So targeting primary and community care is crucial to reduce rates of C. difficile further, and this will involve adopting and adapting some of the processes which have been key in secondary care,' it reads.

'For example, primary and community care must have infection control and antibiotic policies that limit the use of broad-spectrum antibacterials.'

‘There must be processes that establish the root cause of infections. These should recognise the role of community and primary care, including private providers of health and social care, irrespective of where a C. difficile infection case has its onset.'

‘The overall objective must be to change practice, where necessary, to safeguard patients.'

Prescribing experts have called for GPs to be held to account on C difficile infections

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