Thursday 27 October 2016

Enda Kenny's local hospital branded 'health hazard' leaving patients at high risk of infection

Published 19/09/2016 | 10:35

Mayo General Hospital in Castlebar. Picture: Google Maps
Mayo General Hospital in Castlebar. Picture: Google Maps

Inspectors have branded Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s local hospital a health hazard, leaving patients at high risk of infection.

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A damning new report on Mayo General Hospital in Castlebar has revealed a litany of failings, including a lack of basic control measures to protect patients from invasive aspergillosis, where a mould poses a dangerous risk to cancer and other patients with a weak immune system.

Inspectors from the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) had to make two inspection visits to the hospital over the summer and issue a warning letter in June demanding urgent action.

The inspectors visited the orthopaedic ward, renal dialysis unit and the cancer day unit.

The inspectors revealed that during the May 2016 inspection there was a lack of basic control measures to prevent the  invasive aspergillosis associated with construction and renovation works in the orthopaedic ward. There was internal renovation and external building and soil excavation works underway at the time.

Measures required to prevent dust from entering the ward during construction work which was in progress at the time of inspection, were not in place.

Doors that separated the main ward corridor from external soil excavation work were not closed. Dust generated by internal renovation work within the ward had not been effectively controlled with the result that dust and debris was visible on the ward corridor and an adjacent stairwell.

In addition, multiple external windows on the side of the hospital facing the construction site were not closed even though the hospital’s construction risk assessment stated that these windows should be closed.

The standard of patient equipment hygiene in the orthopaedic ward was not in line with national infection control standards.

There was red staining on a patient-controlled pain-relieving device. Reusable injection trays for intravenous medications were stained and it was observed that reusable injection trays were not consistently decontaminated after use, in line with best practice.

Brown staining was visible on commodes and on two patient armchairs. At local level, daily cleaning checklists for patient equipment were not consistently completed and therefore there did not appear to be appropriate managerial oversight of the cleaning of patient equipment.

“The lack of a hygiene services manager was identified as a significant deficiency in an unannounced inspection carried out by Hiqa in Mayo University Hospital in 2015. It was of concern  that this post was still not filled on inspection in 2016. The hospital needs to review and enhance the management structures it has in place,” said the inspectors.

Mayo University Hospital  said it is now revising  and amending its quality improvement plan as per Hiqa instructions.

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