The health watch dog, HIQA (Health Information and Quality Authority), has released a report highlighting poor levels of
overall environmental cleanliness in Irish hospitals which may expose patients to
a risk of infection. The report reveals the findings of 39 unannounced inspections
carried out by HIQA inspectors in 32 public acute Irish hospitals last year.
HIQA said there was a significant rise in the number of hospitals requiring follow
up inspections in 2015 because of hygiene failings. In 2014 one in ten hospitals
were inspected whereas in 2015 one in five hospitals required follow up
inspections for poor hygiene and maintenance issues, representing a significant
increase. It was found that whilst some progress was made in improving hand
hygiene and general hygiene awareness across hospitals, there was still
“considerable room for improvement required in this area.”
Inspectors found many cases where the infrastructure and facilities provided were
inadequate, outdated and/or poorly maintained, and where the infrastructure did
not always support the implementation of best infection prevention and control
practices. Inspectors found that many hospitals were responding to inspection
reports rather than addressing issues through a proactive programme of
management. A lack of resources and high rates of occupancy and activity levels
were frequently cited as reasons given by hospitals for failing to address
maintenance and infrastructural issues.
A re-occurring finding in 19 of the 32 inspections was scope to improve
preparation, labelling and storage of intervention medication in clinical areas,
particularly in operating theatres. Failure to adhere to such practices potentially
increase the risk of transmission of infection and do not comply with international
best practice. Observations during inspections included pre-prepared syringes of
medicines which were unlabelled or insufficiently labelled, inappropriately stored
and left unattended and unsecured.
During 2016, HIQA will continue its monitoring programme with the focus on
areas that pose the highest risk to patients.
Should you require more information on healthcare matters or if you or a loved
one have been affected by treatment provided in our hospitals, please contact
Ronan Hynes, Partner for expert legal advice on 061-414355 or