Inspectors find dirty beds and equipment in hospitals

The State’s health services watchdog has found serious shortcomings in Cork University Hospital’s neurosurgery ward.

Inspectors from the Health Information and Quality Authority described the standard of environmental and equipment hygiene in the 25-bed ward as “poor”.

During its unannounced inspection on May 5, it found that patient equipment was dirty.

Organic matter was present under one commode — a particular concern as it presents a risk of contamination.

The ward manager was informed of the risks that were addressed at the time of the inspection. The ward was dirty, with beds that were dusty and stained underneath.

Overall, the patient equipment and environment in the hospital’s maternity unit was found to be clean and well maintained, with a few exceptions.

Inspectors found sterile supplies were inappropriately stored and the blinds in the delivery rooms that were made of fabric posed a potential risk of contamination.

Inspectors who visited South Tipperary General Hospital on March 2 found five patients on trolleys in a reception area. The open reception that has a coffee dock is a thoroughfare for patients, visitors and staff.

“The absence of an appropriate clinical setting and facilities compromised the quality and care and posed an immediate high risk to the health and welfare of these patients,” HIQA stated.

The inspection was stopped to allow the hospital address the patient safety concerns. The hospital blamed overcrowding of inappropriately accommodating the patients in a non-clinical setting.

The inspectors remained in the hospital until the hospital had addressed the immediate risks to patient safety. Ward rounds promptly carried out identified patients fit for discharge home.

The hospital’s paediatric unit was described as not fit for purpose — a major problem was the lack of space in the multi-bedded rooms.

Inspectors also found that cases of Clostridium difficile at the hospital were “significantly above” the national average. Cases had increased from seven in 2013 to 26 last year. The hospital said the increase was more likely to be due to antibiotic consumptions patterns than cross-infection.

However, the inspectors said environmental contamination should be considered. They found poor standards of cleanliness in some areas in the overcrowded hospital.

HIQA found improvements were made during a reinspection on April 27, but there was scope for more.


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