The Gilbert Bain Hospital has been told to improve cleanliness in several areas following an unannounced inspection in November.
In what was a generally positive report by the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate, which was set up to reduce healthcare-associated infections, hospital bosses have been told to take action within a month. NHS Shetland chief executive Ralph Roberts said “corrective action” had already been taken.
Inspectors found that the 67-bed hospital is complying well with precautions to protect patients, staff and visitors from acquiring infections, with staff aware of their individual responsibilities in infection prevention and control.
Ten patients were spoken to and all were confident of the “high standard of cleanliness” in the hospital, which comprises the maternity unit, Ronas Ward and Wards 1 and 3. Information promoting good infection prevention principles is on display throughout.
The patients also gave positive feedback regarding the care they received.
However inspectors found some contamination in Ward 1. This was on two blood pressure cuffs, a patient bed frame, a drawer on a trolley, two hand rails in patient toilets, one ear thermometer and on two commodes. On Ward 3 they found that a number of shower chairs were damaged and rusty, making them difficult to clean.
Cleaning schedules for the environment and equipment are now being reviewed, with standards and frequency of cleaning having to reflect national policy within a month. Additionally all patient equipment must be cleaned to reduce the risk of cross-infection and ready to use within a month.
The inspectors also wanted improvements in communication between estates and ward staff.
This involves making sure that water tap flushing regimes are consistently carried out in areas at high risk from contamination from a bacterium, (<i>Pseudomanas aeruginos</i>), found in stagnant water, and from legionella, the bacterium responsible for Legionnaires’ disease.
Work has already been completed to address these issues.
Mr Roberts said: “I am pleased that we have received in the main, positive feedback from this inspection process which provides independent confirmation of the infection control measures that we have in place.
“We have low infection rates and consistently positive feedback from patients about the standards of cleanliness in the hospital but this report does highlight a number of areas for improvement. In light of the recommendations we have taken corrective action to ensure that cleaning schedules are followed consistently and all equipment is cleaned to the required standard.
“I would like to thank all staff for their continued efforts to maintain high standards of patient care and in providing a safe and clean environment. We are particularly pleased this was recognised in the patient and visitor comments that were received and feel proud of the services that we deliver in Shetland.
“The inspection findings help us to further improve our service and we have responded quickly to the recommendations that have been made in this report.”