Winter vomiting bug hits hospital criticised in hand hygiene report
A hospital which has been criticised by hygiene inspectors for its standards of handwashing by staff is now in the grip of a winter vomiting bug.
South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel, which was the scene of an unannounced inspection last month, has placed a ban on visitors to stop the spread of the highly contagious norovirus, which can affect people of all ages and cause vomiting and diarrhoea.
Basic prevention measures include washing hands thoroughly with soap and water and disinfecting surfaces that can be contaminated.
Partners or a designated person will be allowed to visit patients in the maternity unit but only parents or guardians are allowed in the children's ward.
The ban comes as the report from the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) revealed that inspectors who visited the 193-bed hospital on July 10 found that just 39pc of staff who were observed washed their hands.
They also observed the "inappropriate" use of gloves when there was no call for hand hygiene, and some staff were seen applying alcohol hand rub to gloves they were wearing.
The inspectors acknowledged that the sample was small and the hospital received a 90pc compliance score in a national audit in October.
But the report pointed out that hand washing is recognised as the most important preventative measure in the transmission of healthcare-associated infections and it is important that the culture is embedded at all levels.
The inspectors also found blood stains on a blood gas machine and in the medical area. Red stains were noted on a mattress cover and a pillow.The inspectors described the amount of dust in the coronary care unit as "unacceptable".
Meanwhile, an inspection report arising out of a visit to Mullingar hospital on June 25 revealed that water samples had tested positive for legionella bacteria in May. The bacteria can cause a serious lung infection. Inspectors said they were satisfied the risk was managed in line with best practice.