Friday 19 January 2018

Overcrowded hospital 'put patients on trolleys in reception area next to coffee dock'

Concerns over HIQA report
Concerns over HIQA report

Eilish O’Regan

INSPECTORS were appalled after finding five patients on trolleys in a hospital reception area next to a coffee dock because it was so severely overcrowded.

South Tipperary Hospital also suffered a spike in cases of the spread of the superbug C Difficile which is partly due to congestion it was experiencing.

The revelations have emerged in new report by the patient safety watchdog Hiqa following an unannounced inspection of South Tipperary Hospital in March.

The unfortunate patients, who has nowhere else to go because the hospital was suffering such overcrowding, were next to a coffee dock where visitors were having their meals.

Hiqa warned:”The absence of an appropriate clinical setting and facilities compromised the quality and care and posed an immediate high risk to the health and welfare of these patients.

“The use of the reception area to accommodate patients admitted to hospital did not provide an acceptable level of safety, privacy or dignity for patients and was unacceptable to HIQA.

The inspectors added:”Immediate mitigation of this risk by the hospital was sought, and the risk was immediately escalated to the appropriate senior management in Hiqa and the chief executive officer of the South/Southwest Group.

Hiqa considered the risks to the health and welfare of these patients and took the decision to stop that particular unannounced inspection to facilitate the hospital in addressing the patient safety concerns identified as a priority.

Referring to cases of the superbug C Difficile, the inspectors said there should be  less than or equal to 2.5 cases per 10,000 bed-days used.

Notable progressive increases in the bug were seen at the hospital were identified since 2013. Data viewed showed that the number of of cases had increased from year to year.

Seven cases were identified in 2013, 19 in 2014 and 26 cases in 2015. The rates seen in the hospital indicated that the incidence of Clostridium difficile infection had been significantly above the national average and Health Service Executive (HSE) target rates for both 2014 and 2015.

The report said there was some improvement in environmental and equipment hygiene was evident during the a re-inspection in April of the paediatric ward and surgical B ward.

It was reported that the following measures were implemented:

- A deep clean had been completed in both areas following the March inspection.

- Revised cleaning schedules and check lists had been developed for both areas

- The Household Services Manager assesses hygiene levels on four clinical areas each week and agrees required improvement measures with ward managers.

- Governance of hospital hygiene services was reviewed resulting in an amalgamation of the Hospital Hygiene Services Committee and the Hospital Hygiene Governance Committee. A first meeting of this newly formed committee was held on the Monday prior to the re-inspection.

- Reassessments which included environmental and equipment audits were performed in both areas.

- Revised patient equipment cleaning checklists were introduced on Paediatric Ward and Surgical B Ward.

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