Traces of potentially fatal bug force temporary closure of East Surrey Hospital's Neonatal Unit (From Redhill And Reigate Life)
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Traces of potentially fatal bug force temporary closure of East Surrey Hospital's Neonatal Unit
4:15pm Tuesday 4th September 2012 in Local News
Health bosses closed part of the maternity unit at East Surrey Hospital, Redhill, for nine days last month after traces of a potentially fatal bug were found.
The Neonatal Unit (NNU) was closed to new admissions from August 5 to 13 after traces of (Extended-Spectrum Beta-Lactamases) Klebsiella (ESBL) were detected on two babies.
The bug, which is potentially antibiotic resistant, was detected during routine checks.
ESBLs are enzymes that can be produced by bacteria that make them resistant to antibiotics and have been fatal.
A spokesman for Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, said a decision was taken quite rapidly to close the NNU to new admissions, and two mothers were transferred from the delivery suite to other local hospitals.
The spokesman said swabs had shown two babies had traces of the bacteria on their skin.
The spokesman said no mothers or babies became ill from the ESBL, which had been of a type which was sensitive to antibiotics and so responded.
She said: “Crucially, they were not infected with the bug. It was on their skin but they were not ill, and had no symptoms.
“In technical terms, they were not infected, but were colonised.”
She said: “With ESBL, there are different strands of it and this particular form is relatively sensitive to antibiotics, compared to other forms.”
Staff carried out a deep clean of the unit and all mothers and babies were swabbed for the bacteria before it reopened.
In a statement, the Trust said: “A decision was taken to temporarily close East Surrey Hospital’s Neonatal Unit to new admissions after an infection was reported.
“This decision was taken in the interest of patient safety, and to ensure that high quality, safe services could be resumed for our patients as quickly as possible.”
Medical director Des Holden said: “East Surrey Hospital’s Neonatal Unit was closed to admissions for a short period during August and consequently we transferred some mums and babies to our NHS partners.”
Mr Holden said: “This move was taken to allow our staff to resolve the potential for infection quickly and effectively, whilst ensuring that our patients continued to receive specialised care.
“Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust is committed to providing safe, high quality healthcare which puts our community first, and our response in dealing with the presence of this bacteria in the NNU reflects that.”
East Surrey Hospital’s NNU has now resumed normal service.
Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust has been overseeing an ongoing £14 million improvement project at the East Surrey.
This has included a new day surgery unit and children's outpatients centre, a modernised and enlarged Emergency Department and new modular ward building, and a state-of-the-art endoscopy unit.
As well as running the East Surrey Hospital, the Trust provides a range of services at hospitals in Crawley, Horsham, Dorking, Caterham and the Oxted Health Centre.
East Surrey Hospital serves a growing population of 350,000 residents in East Surrey and North-east West Sussex and is the designated hospital for Gatwick Airport and the M25.
The Trust employs about 2,900 staff and has an annual budget of £187 million.
More details from its website: www.surreyandsussex.nhs.uk