Soiled bedpans and blood stains among findings in hospital inspections

Dust and dirt on surfaces, soiled bedpans, worn and damaged furniture, black residue in shower areas and blood stains in various locations were among the findings in a series of unannounced hospital inspections.

A series of reports from the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) also found that poor hand-washing was potentially putting patients at risk of picking up infections.

A HIQUA statement said that many facilities were clean and free from visible dirt and clutter, with appropriate infection control signage and practices in place, and acknowledged the work of staff to maintain high standards.

However, further work needed to be done to improve standards.

Phelim Quinn, Director of Regulation with HIQA, said: "A good hand hygiene practice is the single most important measure to protect patients from healthcare-associated infections."

"In many cases, we found hand hygiene actions were not always undertaken, or carried out in the right way, despite the efforts of the staff involved.

"A number of hospitals have now been asked by HIQA to evaluate their level of hand hygiene compliance, in the context of infection rates, in order to assess the impact on patients."

The reports are available to download from the HIQA site.

Among the findings were "an immediate serious risk to the health and welfare of patients" in the 193-bed South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel, due to inappropriate accommodation of emergency department patients with infectious diseases.

In the Coombe in Dublin, two wards were found to be unclean, while clinical areas in Crumlin Children's Hospital were unclean.

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