Reports published by the Health Information Quality Authority following unannounced visits by their inspectors have revealed a poor standard of hygiene in Irish hospitals.
Five hospitals were inspected during June and July by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) – an independent body which scrutinises the quality and safety of the health service in Ireland – and a general lack of hand hygiene was found in each.
Furthermore, inspectors discovered issues such as patients with suspected communicable diseases being treated in open bays of Accident and Emergency Departments and the doors of isolation units – where patients with transmittable diseases were being treated – being left open as standard practise.
Among a catalogue of issues, the poor standard of hygiene in Irish hospitals was exemplified by inspectors finding five hygienic gel dispensers empty at the Waterford Regional Hospital; with several more blocked by congealed soap, and mould growing in patients´ shower units and around toilet areas.
In addition to the Waterford Regional Hospital, a poor standard of hygiene at Irish hospitals was identified at:-
St Michael´s Hospital in Dun Laoghaire
Portiuncila Hospital in Galway
Louth County Hospital in Dundalk
Our Lady´s Hospital in Navan
Commenting on the damming report into hygiene standards at Waterford Regional Hospital, its Clinical Director – Rob Landers – said that the hospital was “extremely disappointed” with the findings of the inspectors, but added that the hospital´s Accident and Emergency Department was extremely busy on the day that the inspectors made their unannounced visit.
He said that compulsory hand hygiene training would be introduced for all workers at the hospital in the future and that future hygiene breaches would become a disciplinary matter. Mr Landers reassured patients that it was safe to attend Waterford Regional Hospital despite the finding in HIQA´s report.
Professor John Crown, a consultant oncologist, writing recently in The Irish Independent, said that the HSE and Department of Health and Children together “comprise one of the least ethical organisations that I have ever dealt with”. Professor Crown goes on to describe the HSE as “secretive, self-serving, dishonest, incompetent and unintelligent.” He concludes, with an interesting historical comparison, that the “corruption and incompetence” of the HSE is effectively a form of Stalinism.
These comments are interesting from the point of view of anyone trying to make a medical negligence claim or hospital negligence claim related to one of the HSE’s services. The management problems that increase the likelihood of negligence are compounded by the way the HSE deals with its own negligence. It’s really no surprise that the Injuries Board Ireland refuses to deal with cases against the HSE.
In a strongly-worded open letter, the Irish Patients Association has today called on unions in the health service to avoid hurting patients during their industrial action.
The letter noted the fatal consequences of previous union activity: Following the death of a patient the family noted that the staff were more interested and focused on putting up notices for a lunch time protest rather than listening to their calls for urgent attention as their family members’ health chronically deteriorated.
The letter goes on to say that union protests cause “chaos for individual patients” and calls for a “balanced solution” to the problems in the health service.
The letter was sent to leaders of IMPACT, T.E.E.U, C.P.S.U, S.I.P.T.U, and I.C.T.U.