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University Hospitals Bristol Told To Improve Hygiene

Inspectors Discovered Medical Facility Was Lacking In Its Infection Control Protocols


The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has told University Hospitals Bristol it must improve its hygiene and infection control practices.

Concerns had been raised about the state of care at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children earlier this month (December) and as the public expressed their fury at lagging service levels, the CQC pressed ahead with an inspection at the nearby University Hospitals Bristol.

Bosses at the University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust have now been told they must produce a report by January 4th 2014, setting out action they will take to ensure the basic hygiene and infection control standards are met.

One of the main issues the trust must address is that dust is commonly being found on equipment, including trolleys - caused by extensive construction work at the hospital.

But while some level of disruption is to be expected when a refurbishment takes place at an operating medical facility, patients' health should not be put at risk and efforts should be made to ensure that dust does not cause lung issues for ward residents, reports the CQC.

Inspectors also found that a corridor leading to the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) had been swept and some dirt brushed into a heap against the wall.

Although it would be acceptable for this to be a short-term stopgap measure while cleaners fetched bin bags or other supplies, investigators found this debris was not removed for at least 20 minutes after it was first spotted - even though multiple members of staff knew it was there.

An excerpt of the CQC report into the hospital also reveals further hygiene failings: "Good practice was not always followed in relation to infection control. We saw examples of this in different areas of the department.

"In the corridors and at the entrances to PICU and the recovery area there were paper notices displayed which had been attached with sticky tape. The notices had not been laminated, which meant that they could not be cleaned effectively."

Expert Opinion
Patient safety should always be the priority for the NHS and a key part of providing high quality care is ensuring that adequate standards are being met in all areas, including hygiene and infection control.

"The CQC’s findings here are a concern and it is vital that steps are taken to ensure that these issues are addressed both quickly and thoroughly by the NHS Trust involved.

"We have seen too many occasions when patients have suffered as a result of problems which could and should have been prevented through compliance with the relevant guidelines. Trusts have a duty to meet such standards and we hope that lessons can be learned from this case."
Julie Lewis, Partner