Glasgow & West Scotland

Inspectors report major concern over hygiene at Hairmyres Hospital

Hairmyres Hospital Image copyright NHS Lanarkshire
Image caption NHS Lanarkshire has apologised for poor standards of cleanliness at Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride

Scotland's chief hospital inspector has reported NHS Lanarkshire to ministers over repeated failures to meet hygiene standards at Hairmyres Hospital.

Susan Brimelow said she was "extremely disappointed" by levels of cleanliness at the hospital in East Kilbride.

The Healthcare Environment Inspectorate (HEI) found pieces of equipment contaminated with blood or body fluids.

NHS Lanarkshire said it was "sorry" and had acted to address concerns after the Scottish government was informed.

Ms Brimelow, HEI chief inspector, said: "I am extremely disappointed by the findings from this inspection.

'Poor standard'

She added: "During inspection on 16 and 17 September, we found patient equipment which was not clean, and a poor standard of environmental cleanliness in all wards and departments inspected.

"We escalated our concerns to senior management on 17 September 2014 and requested that immediate action to be taken to minimise the risk of infection."

The chief inspector said her team also asked NHS Lanarkshire "to produce an improvement action plan to show how these issues would be rectified".

She said her team returned, unannounced, on 3 October, "to ensure improvements had been made and to assess progress with the improvement action plan".

"Although we saw some areas of improvement, issues with the cleanliness of patient equipment and the environment remained," she said.

"Due to the serious nature of our findings, I escalated my concerns to Scottish government.

"We will continue to inspect Hairmyres Hospital to ensure that improvements are made, as every patient coming into hospital should expect their local hospital to be safe and clean."

The HEI report said inspectors had found numerous pieces of equipment contaminated with blood or body fluids when they first visited Hairmyres.

Image copyright HEI
Image caption The HEI report included images of dirt and contamination of patient equipment at Hairmyres Hospital

The also found "significant amounts of dust and grime" in several areas of the hospital.

On their second visit they again found patient equipment contaminated with blood and body fluids, including four patient trolleys and a bed frame as well as five commodes which were tagged as clean.

Inspectors were told that more people, equivalent to eight full-time staff, had been recruited to the housekeeping service.

They found that the standard of environmental cleaning in the wards and departments inspected had improved.

However, they noted faecal contamination to the panels at the back of two communal toilets and on one toilet wall, and faecal contamination on the nurse call bell beside a toilet.

'We are sorry'

HEI has now issued seven requirements and three recommendations for NHS Lanarkshire to address, and has raised its concerns with the Scottish government.

NHS Lanarkshire apologised for the findings of the inspections and said it was making "substantial improvements".

Chief executive Ian Ross said: "We are sorry that we fell below our own high standards of cleanliness of patient equipment and the environment at Hairmyres Hospital."

"We have acted swiftly to put in place a comprehensive action plan to address these issues. This includes making our systems more robust so there is assurance that patient equipment is clean and ready to use.

"We are also putting in place a system of firm supervision to monitor cleaning tasks giving us full confidence that our wards and departments are meeting a high standard of environmental cleanliness."

Mr Ross said he wanted to "reassure patients and visitors" that "substantial improvements" had been made to the hospital since the inspection visits.

He added: "Further progress against our action plan will be closely monitored by the NHS Lanarkshire Board which is committed to ensuring all our hospitals provide a safe and clean environment."

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