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Maternity unit and patient equipment at Tipperary hospital are unclean

The Health Information and Quality Authority has carried out inspections on five hospitals with South Tipperary General Hospital coming in for particularly strong criticism.

THE HEALTH WATCHDOG has issued a damning assessment of the state of hygiene at South Tipperary General Hospital in a tranche of reports on the cleanliness of five Irish hospitals that have been released this morning.

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) found that that even though the hospital was informed of an inspection a visit from inspectors found that overall the maternity unit and patient equipment there were assessed as being unclean with some exceptions.

South Tipperary General Hospital comes out worst in the five reports today with Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin receiving a largely positive report.

However issues are raised in relation to the Rotunda, Sligo Regional Hospital and the South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital in Cork.

Inspectors in Tipperary found that there was no handwash sink in the maternity ward’s en-suite toilet and shower facility and that grit and waste paper was found on the floor of a room used for storing baby feeds in the maternity unit.

Ward areas and equipment that were assessed were deemed to be unclean with dirty floors and evidence of grit found. In the emergency department of the hospital, curtain rails were found to be heavily soiled with black dust.

Inspectors found that the hospital did not have any formal, anti-microbiological stewardship programme in place which means there was a lack of management in the use on antibiotics in the hospital.

A previously inspection of the hospital, for which a report was issued in January, found that there was an immediate and serious risk to the health and welfare of patients with a lack of cleanliness of both the physical environment and equipment.

The hospital, as it will all others, will now be expected to prepare a quality improvement plan within the next six weeks and the make that available publicly.

Other hospitals

At the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin, inspectors found the environment to be generally clean but with opportunities for improvements. Hand hygiene was found to be inconsistent with HIQA standards during the unannounced visit.

Sligo Regional Hospital was found to be partially compliant with a number of significant risks identified including the lack of a permanent general manager – the position has been filled on an acting basis for the past 18 months.

The inspectors found that there was no formalised arrangement for out-of-hours microbiological expertise and no accredited lab. Staff were found to not be taking on adequate responsibility for hygiene practices during the pre-announced visit.

At South Infirmary in Cork, HIQA inspectors found that hand hygiene practices were not operationally embedded within all staff specialities. with practices inconsistent with national standards. This posed a clear risk to patients, HIQA said.

Three clinical areas looked at were generally clean but there were many opportunities for improvement, the inspection – which was unannounced – found.

There was a positive overall assessment of Our Lady’s Hospital in Crumlin which, the HIQA said, has managed to introduce practices which have significantly reduced the chances of infections.

The hospital was found to have introduced comprehensive corporate and section control governance structures with the pediatric intensive car unit found to be “exceptionally clean”.

In the announced visit, vast improvements in hand hygiene – where staff were washing their hands on a regular basis and in the correct way – were identified.

Read: Persistent staffing problems identified at Donegal nursing home

Read: Health risks in hospital baby baths discovered in random inspection

Read: ‘Worrying’ HIQA report raises questions about safety of foster children in Dublin North West

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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