Inspections Reveal High Risk of Infections in Hospitals

Inspections conducted by the Health Information and Quality Authority have revealed a high risk of infections in hospitals and five hospitals in particular have been given six weeks to develop a suitable quality improvement plans.

In June, The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) found five serious breaches of the National Standards for the Prevention and Control of Healthcare Associated Infections in hospitals in Ireland. These breaches of the National Standards meant that patients and visitors alike were placed at high risk of infection in hospitals, and reports concerning the hospitals in question have published in order to alert the general public.

Louth County Hospital

Louth County Hospital was a typical example of patients being placed at high risk of infections in hospitals, as inspectors discovered two cases in which patients with known transmissible infections were placed in isolation rooms with the doors left open onto the general ward as standard practice.

Navan Hospital

The Emergency Department at Navan Hospital was found to be generally unclean and was not effectively managed to reduce the spread of infections. Hygiene problems in the hospital´s female medical ward where also identified resulting in patients not adequately protected from the risk of healthcare associated infections.

St Michael´s Hospital, Dun Laoghaire

At St Michael´s Hospital in Dun Laoghaire, inspectors discovered that mould had been allowed to develop in the hospital´s toilets and showering facilities for patients – and reported that hand hygiene practices in general posed a risk of transmitting infections to patients.

Portiuncila Hospital

At Portiuncila Hospital in Ballinasloe a high risk of infections in hospitals was due to the hospital failing to make use of security features already in place which allowed uncontrolled access to hazardous clinical waste material and medical equipment.

Waterford Regional Hospital

A litany of hygiene issues were reported at Waterford Regional Hospital which could result in the risk of infection in hospitals, most notably:-

  • Patients with suspected transmittable diseases were left in the main area of the Emergency Department due to the isolation room being used as a storeroom
  • Hand hygiene of staff working in the Emergency Department was inadequate and risked spreading healthcare associated infections to other patients
  • Mould had been allowed to develop around the base of a shower used by patients, on the soap holder, around the water outlet and on the shower chair
  • Commodes and bedpans were so heavily stained that they had to be withdrawn from use and one member of staff was observed failing to clean a used commode after use

About the Health Information and Quality Authority

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) is an independent body which examines the safety and quality of the health service in Ireland. The National Standards it inspects for are applicable to healthcare services provided by or on behalf of the Heath Services Executive (HSE), as well as those provided by independent nursing and care homes – with particular scrutiny on services for persons with disabilities, children and older people.