‘High risk’ hygiene issues at Drogheda hospital

Management at one of the country’s busiest hospitals has said poor maintenance of some parts of the building is due to overcrowding.

The comment is included in a hygiene inspection report carried out by health watchdog Hiqa at Our Lady Of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Co Louth, which also found concerns over hand hygiene practice; safe injection practice; and environmental and patient equipment hygiene.

The report on the unannounced inspection said that “a number of high risks were identified” at the hospital, although the situation had much improved by the time a follow-up inspection was carried out in July.

According to the report by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa): “Cumulative findings were such that the authority deemed that a reinspection was necessary within six weeks.”

It said hand hygiene compliance at the hospital was significantly below the HSE national key performance indicator for hand hygiene compliance in 2014 and that access to hand hygiene sinks in multi-bedded wards was significantly obstructed by beds or armchairs.

The report also noted “unacceptable levels of dust” in some parts of the hospital, and when it came to infrastructure and maintenance, “the hospital management team attributed poor maintenance to bed capacity in excess of 100% at times and related difficulty in accessing areas in order to facilitate maintenance works.”

However, by the time of a follow-up inspection in July there were notable improvements in many areas.

Management at the hospital said it acknowledged the issues raised in the Hiqa report and said it has a robust system of actively managing all of the processes that minimise the likelihood of Legionella bacteria in the water supply and that there have been no hospital-acquired infections associated with it at the hospital.

“The hospital has also taken other steps to address issues arising from the report including completing minor maintenance works, risk assessment in relation to access to sinks, and improvements with regard to staff training, audit and information display to ensure compliance with hygiene standards,” it read.

“The hospital would like to reassure our patients and the public that it is committed to providing healthcare services in an environment that maximises safety, quality and accountability and to drive a culture of responsibility and accountability among all staff involved.”

In separate Hiqa hygiene inspections, at the Beaumont Hospital and at the Rotunda Maternity Hospital, both were found to be generally clean with just a few issues.

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