Hygiene lapses are uncovered at Craigavon Area Hospital
BLOOD and faecal stains on window sills and handrails; hair, cobwebs and dust gathering on surfaces; and grime building up on storage containers - these are some of the hygiene lapses revealed by a recent inspection report at Craigavon Area Hospital.
The revelations come at a time when hospital hygiene is under unprecedented scrutiny following the pseudomonas outbreak, which led to the deaths of four babies across Northern Ireland.
According to the report from the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA), inspectors found that one of the wards at Craigavon Hospital did not comply with strict hygiene guidelines.
During the inspection which took place in June 2011, the inspectors noted that while cleaning mechanisms were in place they were not alway implemented or adhered to.
Among the hygiene issues identified by inspectors were:
Dried blood stains on the window sill of the clinical room of Ward 4 South and on the wall and door of the sluice room in Ward 3 South.
Faecal stains on a disabled toilet hand rail which also had in-ground dirt in the grooves.
A build up of dirt and hairs in a shower-grill.
A build up of dust and debris on the corners, edges and skirting of some floors and dust/ cobwebs on high surfaces, high density shelving units and air vents.
The storage containers in the clinical room of Ward 1 South had a large build up of grime.
“An overall compliance score was achieved by Ward 1 South, and Wards 3 and 4 South and Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) achieved
an overall partially compliant score”, said the report.
“The inspectors observed that more attention to detail is required when cleaning and that the age of the building and its fixtures and fittings had a negative impact on some scores in the environment standard.
“The trust has identified that clutter and storage is an issue and is currently working to improve these areas.
“The roles and responsibilities for cleaning patient equipment requires further clarification and the introduction of detailed cleaning schedules would increase compliance in this area for all wards and particularly Ward 4 South which was minimally compliant.”
The inspectors also found damaged and worn fittings such as flooring, lighting and chrome taps in sinks.
However, Craigavon Hospital fared much better in terms of hygiene than some of the other acute hospitals in Northern Ireland.
Four out of four wards examined by inspectors at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast did not comply with guidelines.
There were also failings identified in three of four wards inspected at the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald and two of the four assessed in Belfast City Hospital.
The Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry had one ward that did not achieve satisfactory marks from the RQIA inspectors.
All the inspections were conducted in the period of January 2011 to March this year and were published last week in collated form in an RQIA overview report of hygiene and infection prevention.
All wards where compliance was not up to levels required were subjected to a follow-up inspection.
Craigavon Hospital passed this secondary assessment.
Of the six largest acute hospitals, only the Antrim Area Hospital did not require any follow-up inspections
Glenn Houston, RQIA Chief Executive, said: “RQIA believes that a clear focus on infection control and cleanliness is of paramount importance in reducing the risk of healthcare associated infection.
“Information on the results of cleanliness audits and recorded rates of health care associated infections must be clearly displayed at ward level for staff and patients.
“We encourage continued attention to hospital hygiene practice to ensure the safety and wellbeing of every patient using these services.”
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