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Scathing inspection report on hospital cleanliness brings shame on Hairmyres
Healthcare inspectors issued a scathing condemnation of the lack of cleanliness at Hairmyres following a spot check at the hospital.
The spot check was a follow-up to a previous inspection in which led to senior management being ordered to take immediate action to clean up at the hospital.
And it found standards of cleanliness still so poor it was decided to report NHS Lanarkshire to the Scottish Government.
On their latest visit, which took place in October 2014, the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate (HEI) team found numerous pieces of equipment contaminated with blood or body fluids, including four patient trolleys and a bed frame, as well as five commodes tagged as clean.
While they agreed the standard of environmental cleaning in the wards and departments inspected had improved from their first visit which had also found “significant amounts of dust and grime” in several areas of the hospital, they did see faecal contamination on the panels at the back of two communal toilets and on a toilet wall, and faecal contamination on a nurse call bell beside a toilet.
In their report, the HEI’s chief inspector Susan Brimelow said she was “extremely disappointed” by levels of cleanliness at the hospital.
She added: “During inspection on September 16 and 17, we found patient equipment which was not clean, and a poor standard of environmental cleanliness in all wards and departments inspected.
“We escalated our concerns to senior management on September 17, and requested that immediate action be taken to minimise the risk of infection.
“We also asked NHS Lanarkshire to produce an improvement action plan to show how these issues would be rectified.
“On Friday, October 3, we returned unannounced, to ensure improvements had been made and to assess progress with the improvement action plan.
“Although we saw some areas of improvement, issues with the cleanliness of patient equipment and the environment remained.
“Due to the serious nature of our findings, I escalated my concerns to the Scottish Government.
“We will continue to inspect Hairmyres Hospital to ensure that improvements are made, as every patient coming into hospital should expect their local hospital to be safe and clean."
Following publication of the report, Ian Ross, chief executive of NHS Lanarkshire, said: “We are sorry that we fell below our own high standards of cleanliness of patient equipment and the environment at Hairmyres Hospital.”
“We have acted swiftly to put in place a comprehensive action plan to address these issues. This includes making our systems more robust so there is assurance that patient equipment is clean and ready to use.
“We are also putting in place a system of firm supervision to monitor cleaning tasks, giving us full confidence
that our wards and departments are meeting a high standard of environmental cleanliness.
“I want to reassure patients and visitors that we have already made substantial improvements at Hairmyres Hospital following the HEI visits.
“Further progress against our action plan will be closely monitored by the NHS Lanarkshire Board which is committed to ensuring all our hospitals provide a safe and clean environment.”
The HEI findings from the visit cover seven requirements and three recommendations which NHS Lanarkshire is fully expected to address.
The full HEI inspection report is available to view on their website.
Last month, following the first inspection at the hospital, NHS Lanarkshire brought in specialist cleaning teams from Coventry to tackle the cleanliness problems at the hospital.
It led to a call by UNISON to call for cleaning to again be brought “in house”.