Sunday 21 January 2018

Cramped cancer unit put patients at risk of infection

Beaumont Hospital in Dublin
Beaumont Hospital in Dublin
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Patients in one of the country's major cancer hospitals were at risk of infection because of the cramped and cluttered unit in which chemotherapy was administered, an inspector's report revealed.

The inspection of the ward in Beaumont Hospital in Dublin in mid-August found patients were being treated too close to each other, increasing the risk of people passing on the flu or other infections.

The unit did not have designated isolation facilities, the report by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) said.

"Access to an additional exit door near the patient toilet was obstructed with equipment and the unit also housed a fish tank," it added. However, the report said that overall there was "significant progress" made in addressing problems highlighted during a 2014 inspection.

A separate inspection of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda criticised a range of infection control weaknesses including the risk of Legionnaires posed to patients from its water supply.

The inspectors carried out an unannounced inspection in June and visited again in July.

They found progress was made in addressing risks, but facilities for handwashing and overcrowding in wards remained a concern.

The inspectors acknowledged that the hospital was under pressure because of constant high demands to admit patients. The high bed occupancy was cited as a barrier to getting a chance to improve the wards and access to sinks.

In response, a spokesman for the hospital said yesterday that an independent consultant had since risk assessed and passed the hospital's protections against legionella risk. He also stressed that no patient in the hospital contracted Legionnaires disease.

Hiqa said it would be challenging for the hospital to perform well in relation to risks which were identified in the report because of the difficulty in clearing wards when so many patients needed to be admitted to a bed.

A third inspection report on the Rotunda maternity hospital in Dublin found there was scope for improvement in the cleaning, storage and maintenance of patient equipment in a post-natal ward.

Dust and grit were found on the interior of a number of cots which were stored on the ward awaiting use and a large number of cots were inappropriately stored in the corridors with a plastic sheet draped over them.

A mattress in a cot was also damaged and could not be effectively cleaned, the report added.

Irish Independent

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