Staff criticised as 'unclean' hospital fails hygiene tests
AN audit of the national eye and ear hospital has found that parts of it were dirty, with staff failing to wash their hands properly and some bathrooms visibly unclean.
The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) carried out an audit of the Dublin hospital in June, and it failed five of the seven criteria.
The results mean the overall standard of cleanliness at the specialist hospital has slipped dramatically since the last audit in 2008.
The inspection of The Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, on Adelaide Road, Dublin, found:
- Bathrooms/washrooms were visibly unclean in three areas.
- Floor tiles were missing from a number of areas while some ceiling tiles were stained.
- Fly screens were in place in the kitchen but they were "visibly unclean".
- Separate handwash sinks failed to comply with best practice.
HIQA wants hospitals to have 85pc compliance with the seven criteria: physical environment, clinical equipment, cleaning equipment, kitchens, handling and storage of hazardous devices, linen supply, and hand hygiene. The hospital scored a lowly C rating in three areas.
"The bathrooms/washrooms were visibly unclean in three areas visited. Outpatients Department (OPD) and Emergency Department (ED) share these facilities," the report found.
"A black, mould-like substance was observed in the shower grouting, in two areas, and a bath was observed to be visibly unclean. A black, mould-like substance was also observed in the grouting behind the wash-hand basin in the OPD and ED shared facility."
Chipped paint was noted throughout the building while floor tiles were missing in various areas across the hospital.
The C rating was recorded in the storage, use and handling of hazardous material, after the bins were observed.
"There was no formal process demonstrated for cleaning the waste bins and it was reported that the bins were cleaned on a two-weekly basis," the report added.
Hand-hygiene practice by staff in the hospital was also criticised, after it found the majority of sinks observed did not meet the HSE's guidelines.
All staff are required to attend a mandatory hand- hygiene course -- but the Infection Control Team could not provide a schedule of those who attended.
"During observation, all opportunities to practice hand hygiene were not taken. The hand-washing technique used did not always comply with best practice."
An A rating was recorded in the cleaning of medical equipment, as well as keeping cleaning equipment dirt-free.
But the hospital's kitchens only recorded a B rating.
"Fly screens were in place. However they were observed to be visibly unclean in both kitchens visited," the report added.
It was also found that the doors to the kitchens were propped open, giving open access, while a food-safety policy was "not demonstrated".
HIQA said the hospital "must address the shortfalls in compliance with the standards in order to provide safe, efficient and effective hygiene services".
The Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital was built in 1897. There are 80 in-patient beds, 20 of which are day beds, as well as a 10-bedded children's unit.
The outpatient department caters for around 45,000 patient visits annually while the emergency department accommodates an additional 40,000.