The NHS trust in charge of Queen’s and King George hospitals has urged staff to be more disciplined in antibiotic use after a rise in bowel infections linked to over-prescription.

On Tuesday, January 11, Kathryn Halford, chief nurse at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) told a board meeting that clostridium difficile – or C. diff – infections were “becoming a bit of a problem for us”.

She said the bacterial infection – which causes diarrhoea, commonly affects people recently treated with antibiotics and spreads easily – had not been a problem at the trust “for quite some time”.

She said the trust’s microbiologist was taking action to ensure antibiotic prescription returns to the "level of rigour that we had prior to Covid”.

“We know through Covid lots of people prescribed far more antibiotics, when we were trying to discover how to treat this disease,” she noted.