Hospital Hygiene Review 2008 published

Date of publication:

The Health Information and Quality Authority today launched its second National Hygiene Services Quality Review. The Review assessed 50 acute care Health Service Executive and Voluntary hospitals against the National Quality Hygiene Standards and it provides patients, the public and staff with detailed information on the hygiene services in each of these hospitals and the overall national picture of the quality of hygiene services across the country. 

The Review reflects a snapshot in time and demonstrates that, overall, there has been an improvement in the quality of hygiene services as compared to last year, with a number of areas identified as having improved. These include a multidisciplinary approach to hygiene services, the structure of hygiene services in hospitals, the management of linen, hand hygiene and the management of waste.

However, a number of areas are identified that require further improvement. These include the evaluation of data and information, the monitoring of staff satisfaction, health and wellbeing, reporting timely and accurate data and information, the development and maintenance of guidelines for staff and the evaluation of the performance of Hygiene Services staff.

“Healthcare associated infections continue to be an increasingly important patient safety issue and a growing challenge for many healthcare systems. Reducing these infections should be a priority for all involved in the provision of health and social care services. “High quality hygiene services are essential in driving down these infections” said Dr Tracey Cooper, Chief Executive of the Health Information and Quality Authority.

In comparison with the hygiene performance in last year’s Review, the 2008 results show that there were nearly twice as many “A” ratings, the highest level of compliance against the standards, awarded across the hospitals this year. An increase in “B” ratings was also seen together with an associated decrease in “C” ratings.

“The improvement in the ratings of some hospitals is acknowledged and welcomed. However, a number of hospitals maintained the same level of performance and, in some, their performance has deteriorated. Hospitals which scored poorly in core hygiene delivery criteria saw their overall rating drop. These hospitals must work more effectively to manage the necessary improvements in their hygiene services and the safety of the care they provide to patients” said Dr Cooper.

“The Authority is fully committed to supporting the ongoing drive for quality improvements in reducing healthcare associated infections. The Authority believes that, where poor standards of hygiene exist in our hospitals, this should not be tolerated. We need to continue to move towards a culture of “zero tolerance” in relation to healthcare associated infections. Strong leadership and management in this area are vital in order to ensure that high quality standards in hygiene services are optimum, effective and embedded 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”


Further Information: 

 Marty Whelan, Head of Communications and Stakeholder Engagement,Health Information and Quality Authority,

01 814 7483/7486 or 086 2447623.

Notes to the Editor: 


  1. Both the National Hygiene Services Quality Review 2008 and copies of the individual hospital reports can be accessed on the Authority’s website at
  2. The hygiene services Standards, against which hospitals were assessed, were approved by the Board of the Authority, mandated by the Minister for Health and Children and accredited by the International Society for Quality in Healthcare. In total, there are 20 Standards, sub-divided into 56 criteria which show the measures hospitals should take in regard to hygiene services. The Standards focus on two main areas: Corporate Management and Service Delivery.
  3. The Health Information and Quality Authority is the independent Authority which has been established to drive continuous improvement in Ireland’s health and social care services. The Authority was established as part of the Government’s overall Health Service Reform Programme. The Authority’s mandate extends across the quality and safety of the public, private (within its social care function) and voluntary sectors.