St Luke’s deemed ‘clean’ – but room to improve

St LUKE’S General Hospital in Kilkenny has been deemed ‘clean’ overall, but there is a need for significant improvements in certain areas – particularly in hand hygiene practices – according to a report published today.

St LUKE’S General Hospital in Kilkenny has been deemed ‘clean’ overall, but there is a need for significant improvements in certain areas – particularly in hand hygiene practices – according to a report published today.

The new report, from the Health and Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), is the result of unannounced on-site monitoring of the hospital earlier this month.

The Authority found that while endeavours were made to put the necessary procedures and systems in place for hand hygiene at St Luke’s, hand hygiene practices observed by HIQA were inconsistent with the national standards, and suggest a culture of hand hygiene best practice is far from operationally embedded at all levels. This poses a clear and serious risk to patients of contracting a Health Care-Associated Infection (HCAI).

Hand hygiene is recognised internationally as the single most important preventative measure in the transmission of HCAIs in healthcare services. It is essential that a culture of hand hygiene practice is embedded in every service at all levels.

The Authority found that the three clinical areas assessed in St Luke’s – Maternity, Surgical 2, and Emergency Department (ED) – were clean. However, there were many opportunities for improvement – a large number of them to do with general maintenance.

The report acknowledged the challenges associated with the hospital being an older building, but found that the degree of clutter observed in places would suggest the environment is not effectively managed and maintained. It said a review of the infrastructure, especially in the ED, is necessary to enable effective management of the physical environment.

The report says that St Luke’s Hospital must now develop a Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) that prioritises the improvements necessary to fully comply with the National Standards for the Prevention and Control of Healthcare Associated Infections. This QIP must be approved by the service provider’s identified individual who has overall executive accountability, responsibility and authority for the delivery of high quality, safe and reliable services, and it must be published within six weeks.