A number of “immediate high-risk” findings in relation to infection prevention and control were highlighted in a recent inspection of Mayo University Hospital.

According to a report from the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa), an unannounced inspection of the hospital on May 31 revealed “a lack of basic control measures to prevent invasive aspergillosis” during construction and renovation works.

Aspergillosis is the name given to a variety of diseases caused by the aspergillus fungus. People with lung or respiratory diseases and weakened immune systems are usually at risk from the fungus.

Hiqa identified a range of shortcomings in preventing infection, such as leaving doors and windows on a ward open while soil excavation took place outside and renovations took place next door.

“Infection prevention and control measures required during such activities to protect at-risk patients from invasive aspergillosis were not instituted in line with national guidelines,” said the report.

Hiqa also took issue with the standard of patient equipment and environmental hygiene which, it said, was not in line with national infection control standards.

The findings were of such concern that it deemed a re-inspection was necessary within six weeks. The re-inspection revealed significant progress in the measures to prevent aspergillosis as well as significant improvement in patient equipment cleaning processes.

However, Hiqa found “significant scope for improvement” in relation to environmental hygiene in both the Orthopaedic Ward and the Renal Dialysis Unit and also raised concern that such failings had been highlighted repeatedly over the last number of years.

“Findings of both inspections did not provide assurance that environmental hygiene was being effectively managed in line with best practice guidelines,” said the report. “It is of concern to Hiqa that this was similar to findings from unannounced inspections in both 2014 and 2015.”

Hiqa called for a “collective approach” to the implementation of good practice by all staff and effective leadership at all levels.


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