Clostridium difficile infection objectives for NHS organisations in 2019/20 and guidance on the intention to review financial sanctions and sampling rates from 2020/21

Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) remains an unpleasant, and potentially severe or even fatal, infection that occurs mainly in elderly and other vulnerable patient groups, especially those who have been exposed to antibiotic treatment. The NHS has made great strides in reducing the number of CDIs, but the rate of improvement has slowed over recent years and some infections are a consequence of factors outside the control of the NHS organisation that detected the infection. Further improvement on the current position is likely to require greater understanding of individual causes across the healthcare system to ensure all potential learning is identified and avoid a culture of apportioning blame through the lapses in care process. Notice of the change in reporting was given last year in March.
Objectives this year have been set using the data from 1 April 2018 to 31 December 2018. This data has been annualised and a count of cases calculated for each clinical commissioning group (CCG) and NHS acute provider using the new case assignment definitions. This methodology has been in shadow form on the Public Health England (PHE) data capture system since 2017/18. The focus will now be on a system-wide approach for delivery of objectives, with CCGs having responsibility or accountability for delivery of reductions in the total number of cases assigned to them.