Family still in dark over mum's death

A GRIEVING daughter whose mother contracted a hospital superbug is today still waiting for answers, ten months after her death.Hazel Pettifor's mother, Annie Davies, 81, contracted Clostridium Difficile (Cdiff) – a superbug that causes acute diarrhoea and stomach cramps – when she was admitted to Ipswich Hospital last February.

A GRIEVING daughter whose mother contracted a hospital superbug is today still waiting for answers, ten months after her death.

Hazel Pettifor's mother, Annie Davies, 81, contracted Clostridium Difficile (Cdiff) - a superbug that causes acute diarrhoea and stomach cramps - when she was admitted to Ipswich Hospital last February. She died in May from heart disease and pneumonia.

Mrs Pettifor, 40, of Borrowdale Avenue, Ipswich, was so concerned by the treatment her mother received she asked the hospital to carry out an internal investigation.

Unsatisfied with their findings, she decided to ask for an independent investigation by the Healthcare Commission but is still waiting for news six months after writing to them.

She said: "One of their claims is that you will be given a case manager within six weeks but this has only just happened. It will still be some time before anything really gets done.

"This has been going on for such a long time now and I go through phases of thinking I should just let it go, but I'm determined to follow this process through."

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In her complaint Mrs Pettifor highlights a number of issues she wishes to see addressed in more detail, including infection control procedure and cross contamination.

She said: "The cleaning was awful and the nurses were overrun. There was nothing that convinced me the hospital was being proactive in preventing infection."

The Healthcare Commission was set up last year and is responsible for reviewing complaints about health care that have not been resolved locally.

A spokeswoman for the Healthcare Commission said: "We have had an unprecedented number of complaints which has meant we have not been able to handle them as quickly as we would have liked.

"We are recruiting rapidly to increase our capacity and hope to have the situation resolved soon."

The Healthcare Commission took over from the NHS's own complaints-reviewing system in April 2004 and has been swamped with requests.

The spokeswoman said: "The old system was receiving around 3,500 complaints a year. In the Healthcare Commission's first six months it has received more than 4,500.

"We think part of the reason for the increase is that there was a perception the old system was not independent enough, so there may have been a certain amount of under-reporting in the past."

Have you had problems with the Healthcare Commission? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk