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Four Irish hospitals failed to properly screen patients for new superbug

A new report reveals that a number of hospitals failed to properly protect patients from the CPE superbug.

Image: Shutterstock/OxfordSquare

FOUR IRISH HOSPITALS failed to properly screen patients for a dangerous superbug, according to a new report. 

A Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) report, published today, found that between January and March 2019 four Irish hospitals did not meet HSE standards for the screening of superbug carbapenemase-producing enterobacteriales (CPE). 

The hospitals were:

  • Wexford General Hospital
  • University Hospital Waterford
  • Beaumont Hospital
  • Mater Misericordiae University Hospital

The fifth hospital inspected, Louth County Hospital, was found to have introduced proper screening procedures.

In 2018, 537 patients were treated for CPE, with 50 new patients in May 2019 – this compares to 55 in April, according to the latest HSE figures.

The superbug is seen as notoriously dangerous because of its incredible resistance to antibiotics. 

In October 2017, the Department of Health declared a national public health emergency in response to the rise in CPE reports. 

HIQA works to review health and social care services in Ireland – the latest report notes the “recurring challenges” faced by Irish hospitals to combat CPE. 

The report blamed these failings on the ageing hospital infrastructure, a lack of isolation facilities and high occupancy rates. 

The four hospitals found not to be in compliance with HSE guidelines on CPE are now “endeavouring to move towards automated validated systems for reprocessing of all critical and semi-critical reusable medical devices used”, the report said and were developing training and education for staff in decontamination practices. 

University Hospital Waterford has been tackling an outbreak of CPE since March 2016, while Beaumont Hospital first recorded an outbreak of CPE in August 2018. 

The latter hospital, the inspection found, was continuing to admit patients to a ward dealing with an outbreak of CPE despite the ward being closed to new admissions. 

Discussing the Mater Misericordiae in Dublin, the report was critical of the fact that “decontamination-related risks had not been effectively managed” and found that “key positions in the infection prevention and control team were vacant in 2018″.

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