Four inspection reports on infection prevention and control practices in public acute hospitals have today been published by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA). HIQA monitors infection prevention and control in hospitals against the National Standards for the prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections in acute healthcare services.
These inspections were conducted by HIQA following the declaration of a National Public Health Emergency Plan to address Carbapenemase-Producing Enterobacteriales (CPE) – a very resistant type of bacteria that can cause serious infections – by the Minister for Health on 25 October 2017. HIQA’s inspections focused on how hospitals are implementing the National Standards, with a particular examination of how patients are being protected against the CPE threat.
Inspections were carried out between June and July 2018 at:
- Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin
- St. Columcille’s Hospital, Loughlinstown
- Croom Orthopaedic Hospital, Co Limerick
- Mallow General Hospital, Co Cork.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) revised the requirements for screening of patients for CPE in the acute hospital sector in February 2018 to be implemented in all hospitals from 1 March 2018. Screening allows hospitals to better reduce the risk of colonised patients going on to develop CPE infection during the course of their medical treatment, and also enables the hospital to better prevent potential spread of CPE to other patients and staff.
HIQA notes that only one of the four hospitals inspected between June and July 2018 were in full compliance with the HSE guideline on screening patients for CPE. Given that the threat associated with CPE has been declared a national public health emergency, HIQA escalated concerns to hospital management in three hospitals and the HSE to seek assurances around how each hospital might ensure compliance with the HSE’s own guidelines. Full details of how each hospital intended to address this serious deficit are outlined in each report.
A summary of key findings from each inspection are further outlined below.