Read our latest advice on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Our services are open and safe to attend – we are still here to help

Our quality story

C. difficile infections

C. difficile – or Clostridium difficile – are bacteria widely present in the community and in most cases they are harmless.

However, medical treatment with antibiotics, some types of surgery or where someone’s immune system is weakened, can all leave patients vulnerable to C. difficile infection and needing treatment with special types of antibiotics.

What's the standard?

We work hard to minimise the number of C. difficile infections, particularly where these occur as a result of a patient's treatment.

Our aim is to have no C. difficile infections that were caused by a lapse in care.

How are we doing?

We have a consistently low rate of C. difficile infection in our hospitals.

Our recent performance:

  • December 2019 – 0 C. difficile infections occurred due to a 'lapse in care'
  • November – 0
  • October – 0.

While lapses in care are rare, we continue to work hard to avoid these. Each case is investigated so any lessons can be learnt.

How you can help us

If you have previously been infected with C. difficile, please tell our staff before you come into hospital or when you are admitted.

Help prevent infection – wash your hands

  • Infection prevention – video transcript

    At Guy's and St Thomas' we take infection control very seriously.

    We do not want any of our patients to get a hospital acquired infection needlessly.

    In hospital everybody needs to adopt good hand hygiene practice, that includes you the patient, visitors and all of the staff, the nursing staff, doctors, everybody.

    We would encourage everybody that visits the ward to use the gel as they walk in and as they leave.

    We expect all of our staff, wherever they are, to wash their hands before they come in contact with you, and to wash their hands after they've finished caring for you.

    If you feel that you need to ask our nurses or our doctors or our therapists to wash their hands, then please do not hesitate to do so.


Washing your hands is the single most effective way to reduce your risk of getting this infection. Please wash your hands after using the toilet and before eating or drinking, and encourage your visitors to do the same.

Even if they look clean, your hands can still carry many germs. That's why cleaning hands regularly is so important.

Find out more

For more information, see the NHS website.

Got a question?

If you have a question about or comment on this information, please contact the communications team at

C. difficile infections occurred due to 'a lapse in care' in December 2019.

Page last updated: February 4 2020