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Dublin: 8°C Monday 30 November 2020

Single-use injection vial 'used on multiple patients' in maternity hospital

Three maternity hospitals visited by inspectors were found to be clean but with some exceptions.

Image: Shutterstock/maxriesgo

Updated 5.41 pm 

UNITS AT MATERNITY hospitals in Dublin have been criticised in new reports by the health standards watchdog on cleanliness standards.

Hiqa published the details of unannounced inspections at the Rotunda Maternity Hospital, the National Maternity Hospital, and Temple Street Children’s Hospital.

All were generally clean but with some exceptions.

In the Rotunda, inspectors visited the Gynaecology Ward and the Neonatal Unit and found that ‘single use’ intravenous antibiotic vial were being used on multiple patients who required the same antibiotics.

“These vials typically lack antimicrobial preservatives and can become contaminated
and serve as a source of infection when used inappropriately,” the report read, and recommended only using them on a single patient.

“Unacceptable levels of dust” were found in areas such as an incubator, some patient cots and frames, floor edges, frames which hold clinical waste bins, behind a resuscitation trolley and an air-conditioning unit

In the gynaecology ward, stains were found on a commode, and other evidence suggested that temperature probes were not being cleaned after use.

Rotunda Hospitals The Rotunda Hospital. Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

In inspections of neonatal intensive care unit and two postnatal units at the National Maternity Hospital, blood stains and congealed blood were visible on a blood gas machine, as well as a used glove.

Other items, meant to be discarded after use, found on patient monitoring equipment suggested the equipment had not been cleaned after use, the report said.

A range of other equipment were also found to be dusty. Inspectors were told no one staff were permanently assigning to cleaning this equipment.

Issues surrounding dust had been raised previously.

The report read:

Infections due in part to an immature immune system; therefore the environment in which the neonates are accommodated in hospital should be managed and maintained to a very high standard in order to reduce risk.

Inspectors also found two blood transfusion bags had not been disposed of in a sealed bio-hazed bag, but were instead wrapped in paper and stored on bedside tables.

The National Maternity Hospital released a statement this evening saying they are in the process of relocating their neonatal facility to a “new and much more spacious unit within the hospital.” This is expected to be completed next month and is being done on an interim basis until a new purpose built maternity hospital is built on the St. Vincent’s University Hospital Campus.

In Temple Street, dust was found in some areas, with improvements possible in the areas of hand hygiene sinks and sanitary facilities on St Gabriel’s Ward.

“For example, the overflow outlet on some hand hygiene sinks were visibly unclean and staining was present on sealant on a shower basin and a plug in a sink,” the report said.

- Additional reporting by Rónán Duffy

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