Surprise Waterford hospital inspection uncovers significant infection risk

Three areas in the hospital were found to be "generally unclean".

The Health Information and Quality Authority has said an unannounced inspection of Waterford Regional Hospital uncovered immediate and serious risks to the health and welfare of patients.

HIQA found the environment and equipment in the three areas it assessed to be "generally unclean", placing patients at "significant" risk of infectious diseases.

The hospital has been given six weeks to develop a quality improvement plan.

HIQA has published a hygiene inspection report on its website today, in the aftermatch of the spot check, which was carried out on June 25.

The Authority says it informed the Hospital Manager of the risks found immediately, and that person gave a commitment to take any action neccessary to mitigate serious risks.

Inspectors found a culture of hand hygiene is not operationally embedded within all staff specialities, despite training.

Inspectors found sticky residues, dust and staining on hardware, including syringes, beds and resucitation trolleys, which store equipment including needles and syringes.

Elsewhere there was chipped and peeling paint, radiators were being used to dry patients' personal belongings, equipment on the floor, staining around toilets, and mould around sinks and shower fixtures.

A disposable kidney dish containing used surgical instruments and a used disposable tracheotomy tube were stored on top of one of two large trays containing disinfectant fluid.

Further, a shelving unit containing needles and syringes, and hazardous chemicals elsewhere in the hospital, were left unsecured.

Waterford Regional Hospital has six weeks to publish its QIP on its website. The Authority says it will continue to monitor the hospital's QIP.

The Irish Patients Association said it is extremely concerned.

"Of major concern here is the governance of Waterford hospital," Stepehen McMahon said. "This is a very, very serious conclusion."

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