Wales

Wrexham hospital isolation facilities 'not fit for purpose'

Wrexham Maelor Hospital Image copyright Google
Image caption Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board is set to spend £1.7m upgrading facilities at the hospital

Isolation facilities at Wrexham Maelor Hospital are not fit for purpose, presenting a growing risk of infection, says a report to health officials.

Now Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board is set to spend £1.7m upgrading facilities.

For the past 10 years the only means of segregation and isolation on the critical care unit has been two Isopods which cost £30,000 a year to rent.

But they have "significant inadequacies".

Project director Graham Alexander said that due to a lack of hand washing facilities, staff and visitors are having to share washbasins, increasing the risk of cross-contamination.

The Maelor receives patients needing specialist care, who are transferred from hospitals in north west England, where a carbapenemase producing enterobacteraicia (CPE) endemic has been declared.

CPE are bacteria that are resistant to most effective antibiotics and spread rapidly in healthcare facilities.

"There is an increasing flow of patients between hospitals and repatriations from local hospitals, therefore the risk of transmission of these types of infections has dramatically increased," the report said.

Other problems include:

  • Defective doors to the critical care unit, which means only specific infections can be nursed there.
  • Patients with reduced immunity are occasionally nursed in open bays where infections could be fatal
  • Patients with highly virulent and contagious infections are not always isolated in a timely manner, increasing the risk of infection spread.

The report went on: "With any infection, including the advent of CPE cases, in critical care it is increasingly becoming a problem that is impacting on patient outcome, length of stay, increased ICU cost and bed availability."

It warned that without improved isolation facilities, risks could " simply multiply".

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