By Roisin Brady
Only one in ten hospitals are adhering to sanitation standards put in place by the government to prevent the spread of super bugs, according to an inspectors’ report published today.
The Healthcare Commission tested fifty-one unnamed hospitals using the government’s hygiene code, which is a legal requirement for medical trusts and helps to reduce the spread of infections such as MRSA, Clostridium difficile and other hospital-acquired infections.
Anna Walker, the Commission’s Chief Executive said, “At nearly all trusts we have found gaps that need closing. It is important to be clear that at these trusts we are not talking about the most serious kind of breaches. But these are important warning signs to trust boards that there may be a weakness in their systems.”
“It is clear that the NHS is paying close attention to infection prevention and control. Trusts have made real progress with many getting good systems in place and demonstrating clear board leadership on this important issue.”
She added that despite improvements in certain areas, it was vital for hospitals to constantly strive for the utmost in sanitary conditions, to ensure patient safety.
“Now the challenge for trusts is to ensure they drive further sustained improvements by getting the right systems in place all of the time.
“At nearly all trusts we have found gaps that need closing. It is important to be clear that at these trusts we are not talking about the most serious kind of breaches. But these are important warning signs to trust boards that there may be a weakness in their systems.
“In particular, trusts need to ensure that their wards are consistently clean and well maintained, and that they have good decontamination and isolation arrangements.
“It is the consistent application of these systems that will ensure infection rates continue to drop. These issues are a top priority for the public. We make no apologies for demanding high standards.”
From April next year, the new Care Quality Commission will be able to impose fines on medical institutions that fail to meet hygiene standards.