Watchdog will name and shame to tackle infection rate

HOSPITALS that fail to comply with new infection control standards will be named and shamed by the state’s health services watchdog.

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) yesterday published 12 steps hospitals can take to prevent and control infections. When the standards are introduced at the end of the year, the authority will start inspecting hospitals to ensure compliance.

HIQA will publish their findings in full on how hospitals are performing and believes this will ensure high infection control standards are maintained.

And when a hospital licensing system is introduced, hospitals risk having their licences suspended for failing to meet the standards, currently in draft form.

The standards address governance and management; hand hygiene; device-related infections; antibiotic resistance; staffing; physical environment and disease control.

HIQA director of healthcare quality, Jon Billings, said the standards should be the benchmark expected from hospitals every day.

“That is why we are giving everyone with an interest in this area the chance to comment,” said Mr Billings.

Following the consultation process, the final set of standards will be introduced before the end of the year.

“These standards are based on international best practice so their basis is not in question. You cannot completely prevent infections in hospitals but they are less likely if the standards are applied,” he said.

Meanwhile, latest Rate My Hospital figures from irishhealth.com shows 7% of patients on average are contracting MRSA or another infection in acute hospitals.

The rate is higher than figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) that puts the rate at about 5%.

The hospital with highest patient-reported rate was Cork University Hospital at 14%, with Mercy Hospital, Cork next at 13%.

St John’s Hospital in Limerick had the lowest rate at 1%, followed by the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital in Dublin, Naas, Monaghan, Portiuncula and Portlaoise, each at 3%.

A copy of the standards is available at www.hiqa.ie. Submissions can be made to the authority until July 18.


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