Claims News

Patients are at Risk of Infection in Hospitals According to New Reports

Posted on: August 29th, 2013

Five reports recently released by the Health Information Quality Authority (HIQA) have found that patients are at risk of infections in hospitals because of poor hygiene by the staff.

In June and July, inspectors from the HIQA conducted unannounced inspections of several hospitals throughout Ireland, and the reports of their visits have just been made public. The reports reveal a serious lack of hygiene among the medical and nursing staff, which is being allowed by the management of the hospitals, and which present a high risk of infection in hospitals to patients, visitors and other members of staff.

The worst offender among the five hospitals was Waterford Regional Hospital – where inspectors found a general lack of cleanliness in the hospital environment and equipment used in the hospital. During the inspection, a patient with a suspected transmittable infection was treated in a bay in the main area of the Accident and Emergency Department, while isolation rooms were being used as a storeroom and an Ear, Nose and Throat consulting room.

Inspectors also found that medical and nursing staff used only five in twenty-three hand hygiene opportunities and that soap dispensers provided for staff at the hospital were either empty or clogged with soap residue. Further areas of concern included hazardous chemicals being stored on an open shelf in a utility room and corridors being cluttered with trolleys, items of medical equipment and waste collection bins.

Commenting on the report, the clinical director of Waterford Regional Hospital, Rob Landers admitted that he was “extremely disappointed” and said that the catalogue of bad hygiene and health risks was “unacceptable”. He added that hand hygiene training would be made for all workers in the future to reduce the risk of infection in hospitals.

Four more Hospitals fail National Standards

The four further hospitals that were in breach of the National Standards for the Prevention and Control of Healthcare Associated Infections and presented a risk of infection in hospitals when HIQA inspectors made unannounced visits were:-

Louth County Hospital

Inspectors at Louth County Hospital discovered two cases of patients with known transmissible infections placed in isolation rooms with the doors left open onto the general ward.

Our Lady´s Hospital, Navan

The Accident & Emergency Department at Our Lady´s Hospital was found to be generally unclean and a high risk of infection in hospitals was identified in the hospital´s female medical ward.

St Michael´s Hospital, Dun Laoghaire

At St Michael´s Hospital in Dun Laoghaire, inspectors discovered two unhygienic temperature probes – one was visibly unclean and the second had a sticky residue on its screen.

Portiuncila Hospital

At Portiuncila Hospital in Galway a high risk of infection in hospitals was attributable to problems with the physical environment, waste management and cleanliness of patient equipment.

The five hospitals that have been identified as presenting a risk of infection in hospitals will be required to develop a quality improvement plan within six weeks and publish it on their websites.

This is an Information site only – if you feel you have a potential claim, you should discuss your situation with a solicitor registered with the Law Society of Ireland.