Health chiefs have unveiled details of a pilot scheme which will see probiotic yoghurts given to patients in a bid to stop them developing superbugs such as Clostridium difficile.
As part of the initiative, free pots of Actimel, which contain “friendly” bacteria, are being handed out to patients deemed to be at a higher risk of contracting potentially fatal superbugs.
The trial is being carried out by Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.
Trust medical director Matthew Fletcher said: “We are providing Actimel probiotic yoghurt to patients on the wards where we have previously had more cases of C diff.
“There is some evidence to suggest that using these probiotics may reduce a patient’s risk of C diff and we will be evaluating the difference this has made to the number of cases.”
Friendly bacteria are said to aid digestion in the gut and reduce the chances of having stomach upsets.
Research suggests they help prevent bowel conditions such as ulcerative colitis, protect children against allergies, and may even reduce the risk of colon cancer.
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“I have used probiotics for these reasons for some time in desperation. However this needs to be answered by a large controlled trial” – Name and address supplied
“Is this used in neutropenics? Inflammatory bowel conditions? The immunosuppressed? Coeliacs? How many blood cultures of lactobacillus, etc, have occurred?” – Name and contact details supplied
“I have used probiotics for these reasons for some time, in desperation. However, this needs to be investigated with a large controlled trlal.” – Name and contact details supplied