HIQA probe identifies infection 'risk' issues
The report arising from an unannounced inspection of Wexford General Hospital (WGH) in November of last year has highlighted the fact that there was no on-site microbiologist at the hospital for the two months leading up to the review.
HIQA carried out an inspection at the hospital on November 9, 2017 and found that while the hospital had systems in place to identify and manage risk in relation to the prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections, they did identify a risk in relation to the lack of on-site consultant microbiologist for the previous two months. The hospital had also identified the risk and informed governance structures in the Ireland East Hospital Group.
In a letter to the hospital HIQA highlighted the issue, pointing out that there appeared to be no agreed timeframe by which this deficiency would be addressed.
They said: 'In light of the complexity of services provided in Wexford General Hospital, this deficiency poses a potential risk to the clinical management of patients with infection and also the ongoing delivery and progression of the infection prevention and control programme and antimicrobial stewardship at the hospital.'
In response, General Manager of the hospital Lily Byrnes explained they had sought additional resources, adding that University Hospital Waterford (UHW) had confirmed they would provide three sessions to the hospital per week - an increase of two sessions on the previous arrangement.
'It is hoped that the post-holder will be in place in Quarter 1, 2018. In the interim, a 24/7 telephone support is being provided to WGH from UHW and, on request, a hospital visit will be provided.'
In their report HIQA acknowledged that the Infection Prevention and Control Team had put in place many elements of an infection prevention and control programme, but found that the hospital should implement workforce contingency planning for the specialist staff so that the service could run seamlessly.
HIQA recommended that Wexford General Hospital continue to work with the Ireland East Hospital Group to progress with the full implementation of the national guidelines for screening patients for Carbapenemase producing Enterobacteriaceae.
The report acknowledged that patient environment and equipment was generally clean in the areas inspected, stating that: 'There was good ownership in relation to hospital hygiene and evidence of clear processes and responsibilities from clinical areas through to executive management level which is commendable. The hospital had improved upon hygiene service delivery and this was evident on the day of inspection.'