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Dublin: 18 °C Friday 3 July, 2020

Some Irish hospitals could stand to be a lot cleaner...

Health watchdog HIQA has released details of six unannounced inspections at hospitals around the country.


THE HEALTH INFORMATION and Quality Authority (HIQA), the national health watchdog, has released details of six unannounced inspections into hospitals around the country between March and May this year.

Two of the six hospitals inspected (Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, Co Galway and the South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital (SIVUH), Co Cork) were re-inspected after poor hygiene showings in their initial visits.

Portiuncula displayed a high risk relating to “poor environmental hygiene” in its oncology (cancer) ward in an inspection carried out on 11 March 2015.

Further, HIQA determined that many of the issues it raised with the hospital during its 2014 inspection were not dealt with by the time of the March 2015 inspection.

In a follow-up inspection in April 2015 it was found that “many of the actions with target time frames had been addressed at the time of the re-inspection”.

At SIVUH, which is a privately funded hospital, the inspection carried out in April 2015 “immediate high risks were identified” regarding the infrastructure and design of four of the seven theatres located in the General Theatre Department.

The report explains that capital funding has been sought by the hospital to address the issues raised by the HIQA inspection.

Inspectors acknowledged that “significant improvement” was seen in these areas identified as being problematic at the hospital during HIQA’s re-inspection in May 2015.

Regarding Portiuncula Hospital, general manager Chris Kane said “action has been taken to address the deficits identified by HIQA”.

“We are committed to ensuring the environment in the hospital is clean and managed appropriately,” he said.

We are also focusing on improving our hand hygiene rates, which play a significant role in infection control.
In relation to a number of unrelated cases of clostridium difficile in late 2014 and early 2015, while it is acknowledged that this was not an outbreak, the hospital immediately addressed the deficits identified by HIQA following their inspection.

Meanwhile, Helen Donovan, interim chief executive of SIVUH, told that the hospital “wishes to reassure our patients that all steps are taken to ensure a safe and positive patient experience”.

Since 2011 we have invested approximately €6m  in our theatre complex.
We have appointed engineering/architectural consultants to carry out an initial assessment of four of our theatres. This work was identified and commenced prior to our HIQA visit.
This environmental report will identify capital requirements and will further inform our business case to secure capital funding.
I wish to reiterate that patient safety and quality patient centred care is central to all decisions in SIVUH.

The other hospitals examined in the inspections are the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, Naas General Hospital, St Columcille’s Hospital, and Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital.

At Cappagh in Dublin, HIQA identified significant areas for improvement in the cleanliness of the environment.

Likewise, the watchdog found potential for improvement in maintenance and cleanliness at St Colmcille’s in Loughlinstown, Co Dublin.

Both the Royal Victoria and Naas General were found to be generally clean upon inspection.

The various hospital reports released today can be found here.

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