Northern Ireland

Hygiene in NI hospitals improves

hospital ward
Image caption Local hospitals were inspected over the first nine months of 2011

The level of hygiene and infection prevention in hospitals in Northern Ireland has improved, according to a report out on Tuesday.

One hospital, the Longstone in Armagh, fell below the minimal standard.

The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) inspected 250 wards and clinical wards while conducting its hygiene report.

Glenn Houston, RQIA chief executive, said a high standard was set and hospitals had to score 85% to comply.

The inspections ran from January to September 2011.

"During the latest round of inspection the majority of areas examined demonstrated compliance with the standards. It is encouraging to note that hygiene practice amongst staff is generally good," said Mr Houston.

"However, the ward environment, patient equipment and appropriate disposal of sharps presented the biggest challenge in a number of areas."

In relation to Longstone, Mr Houston said there were a number of areas where there was room for improvement including "levels of cleanliness in toilet areas, cleanliness in general areas, in the showers and bathrooms".