HIQA have released a report following unannounced inspections carried out on 32 public hospitals during 2015. The report found that the number of hospitals requiring follow-up inspections doubled to 22%, compared to 10% the previous year. The main reasons cited for follow up inspections were poor hygiene standards and poor maintenance of the environment and facilities which impacted on compliance with infection prevention and control standards. The report states that “it is especially important that areas in hospitals where high risk invasive procedures are carried out should be meticulously clean to reduce the risk of the transmission of infections to patients”. While HIQA pointed out that the standards of hand hygiene training and awareness had met the national target, HIQA still had concerns about levels of general cleanliness in most hospitals inspected.
The report found in some hospitals that the infrastructure was “inadequate, outdated and poorly maintained” which in turn had an impact on the prevention of the spread of infection. This was expanded in the report to include limited spatial separation between patients, lack of sufficient toilet facilities and inadequate medication preparation.
Following the inspections, a number of hospitals demonstrated a commitment to rectifying the issues raised while also identifying key issues that worked as bars to resolving the problems, such as insufficient resources, high activity and occupancy levels and a lack of funding.
Although specifically aimed at hospitals, the report highlights the importance of maintaining high standards of cleanliness in the healthcare industry with a view to the prevention of infection and the protection of the public.View the full report here. Authors: Elaine Morrissey and Brian Hammond