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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 19 March, 2019
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Inspection finds operating department at Coombe maternity hospital not fit for purpose

The operating theatres, staff facilities and the storage of sterile supplies were all criticised.

Image: RollingNews.ie

AN UNANNOUNCED INSPECTION by health watchdog HIQA found that the operating department at the Coombe maternity hospital was not fit for purpose.

Two of the operating rooms were opened in 1967 and a further two were added in 1995. The report said the department design was outdated and “neither meets the desirable standards of a modern surgical facility nor facilitates the implementation of effective infection prevention and control measures”.

Its ventilation system also did not meet recommended specifications for a healthcare premises.

The report identified a number of risks which were uncovered during the inspection.

These included:

  • The infrastructure and design of the main operating theatre department did not meet international best practice guidelines and was not fit for purpose.
  • A number of doors and windows were left open allowing unfiltered air into the hospital.
  • Staff facilities were not up to standard for the amount of people who work in the city centre hospital.
  • There was a significant amount of exposed wire and pipes on ceilings and walls throughout the facility.
  • Sterile supplies were being inappropriately stored.
  • Surfaces and finishes in operating and adjoining rooms were not in line with guidelines for surgical facilities.
  • Window blinds, lighting fixtures and floor coverings did not facilitate effective cleaning.

HIQA said it it acknowledged that risks associated with the operating department were not the fault of staff at the hospital and was in need of major investment.

However, it added that some of the other risks identified could be addressed in the short-term.

HIQA said the hospital must now revise and amend its quality improvement plan so it complies with the standards it has been set.

In a statement, the Coombe hospital said it has accepted the watchdog’s conclusions.

A spokesperson said: “Patient safety is central to the care provided at the Coombe. For some considerable time, senior management has had extensive, ongoing engagement with the HSE concerning essential upgrading of the Theatre Department and a detailed business case for this work was submitted to the HSE earlier this year.

“Since HIQA’s visit, the Coombe has received notification that the Theatre Re-development Business Case has been approved by the HSE, and the hospital is currently awaiting details of the timeline for the necessary funding.

“In the interim, improvements are ongoing in the Theatre Department in advance of the planned major theatre redevelopment project. We will continue to improve our facilities within the existing infrastructural challenges to ensure a safe, high quality service for our patients.

“The Coombe acknowledges that the implementation of the HIQA recommendations will improve the quality of the care environment and the standard of service for both patients and staff.”

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