Hospital hygiene problems persist

Some areas of Craigavon Area Hospital are still failing in infection and hygiene standards, an inspection has revealed.

The unannounced inspection was carried out in November in Ward 1 South, Ortho Trauma and the Emergency Department (ED), with 1 South (medical) faring the worst.

Overall, the team from the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) found the hospital was working to comply with the standards but noted ‘recurring themes from previous inspections’.

These were cleaning, clutter and maintenance of the clinical environment; staff knowledge on disinfectant dilution rate and colour coding guidance; hand hygiene and use of personal protective equipment.

The inspectors, who made 46 recommendations, said, “The Southern Health and Social Care Trust should ensure that sustained efforts are made to address recurring issues.”

In the overall compliance levels, Ward 1 South scored the lowest with 72 per cent - minimal compliance is 75 per cent or below. Trauma scored 80 per cent and ED 84 per cent.

In 1 South, the toilet, clinical/treatment room, communal area and equipment store were among the lowest scoring, with figures in the 50s.

Inspectors concluded that further improvement is required in 1 South in the handling, segregation and storage of waste and the management of patient equipment; and in all wards the general environment requires improvement in relation to cleaning, maintenance, repair and storage.

Among the positives noted are - the Emergency Department had maintained and improved compliance scores from previous inspections; trauma is now admitting patients with fractures from Daisy Hill, rather than transferring them to the Royal; and in Ward 1 South, hand hygiene and commode audit results and ward infection rates for October 2014 were very positive.

A spokesperson for the Trust said it is fully committed to infection prevention and control and maintaining the highest standards of hygiene and that its hospital infection rates continue to be among the best in Northern Ireland.