Five inspection reports on infection prevention and control practices in public acute hospitals have been published today.
Inspections were carried out between January and March 2019 in:
- Wexford General Hospital
- University Hospital Waterford
- Beaumont Hospital
- Louth County Hospital
- Mater Misericordiae University Hospital.
HIQA’s inspections evaluate how hospitals organise themselves to minimise the spread of healthcare-associated infections, and the approach taken to reduce the risk of reusable medical device-related infection in satellite decontamination facilities. These two areas are internationally recognised as being major contributors to potentially preventable patient harm as a consequence of healthcare provision.
Inspectors found that only one hospital, Louth County Hospital, was in compliance with the Health Service Executive’s (HSE’s) February 2018 guideline on screening patients for Carbapenemase-Producing Enterobacteriales (CPE). HIQA sought assurances from hospital management in Wexford General Hospital, University Hospital Waterford, Beaumont Hospital and Mater Misericordiae University Hospital that this risk would be managed, and assurances were provided. All hospitals were endeavouring to move towards automated validated systems for reprocessing of all critical and semi-critical reusable medical devices used. Academic training and education for staff working in decontamination was progressing across all hospitals inspected.
Overall, HIQA found recurring challenges faced by hospitals to effectively prevent and control the CPE outbreak, such as design of and aging hospital infrastructure, a lack of isolation facilities and high occupancy rates.
To concur with HSE national recommendations, each hospital group must identify a group decontamination lead and each hospital should progress the centralisation of decontamination activity. Microbiological testing of environment and equipment also needs to be implemented.
A summary of additional key findings from each inspection are outlined below.