Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Poor hand hygiene found in Edinburgh children's hospital

Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh Image copyright Kim Traynor/Geograph

Inspectors have highlighted "poor compliance" with hand hygiene in one ward at a children's hospital.

The Healthcare Environment Inspectorate said there were areas for improvement in ward four at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.

Inspectors found on several occasions that staff applied alcohol-based hand rub but their technique was poor.

"We also saw staff not removing their aprons and gloves or not cleaning their hands on removal", the report said

But the HEI report added that generally, across the hospital, "we saw good staff compliance with hand hygiene".

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption NHS Lothian has been told to address hygiene issues as a matter of priority

Inspectors said they also saw staff using monitoring equipment on several patients "without appropriate decontamination of the equipment taking place between patients".

Inspectors found that in ward one, where children with respiratory and other problems are treated, three of the four mattresses they checked had "visible contamination on the inside of the mattress covers".

Jacqui Macrae, from Healthcare Improvement Scotland, said: "In this inspection we found that the wards and departments were generally clean. However, we have also identified a number of areas that need to be addressed.

"NHS Lothian must implement improvement action plans and ensure all equipment used in the care environment is clean.

"This inspection resulted in five requirements and two recommendations which we expect NHS Lothian to address as a matter of priority. We will continue to inspect the Royal Hospital for Sick Children to ensure improvements are made."

'Things to improve'

Dr David Farquharson, for NHS Lothian, welcomed the report.

He said: "We are pleased that some areas were singled out for praise, including the cleanliness of the hospital and that overall staff are working hard to comply with standard infection control precautions.

"We recognise there are things that can be improved and they will be addressed as a matter of urgency. These include reinforcing general infection control measures with staff, better documentation surrounding vascular catheters and improve the checking and cleaning of all equipment including mattresses."

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