Stracathro Hospital received an unannounced inspection by the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate (HEI) on May 18 - when it was assessed against the NHS Quality Improvement Scotland (NHS QIS) heathcare associated infection (HAI) standards.
The following areas were inspected: diagnostics department; surgical ward; ward 2 (care of the elderly); ward 7 (stroke and rehabilitation).
Overall the HEI found evidence that NHS Tayside is complying with the majority of NHS QIS HAI standards to protect patients, staff and visitors from the risk of acquiring an infections.
In particular the ward environment and clinical areas inspected were clean and the fabric of the building was well maintained.
The findings from the visit are set out below, and cover two requirements that NHS Tayside is fully expected to address, plus five recommendations for improvement.
Although inspectors observed good compliance with some policies such as dress code, they noted some non-compliance with standard infection control precautions.
In the diagnostics department inspectors noted several areas of non-compliance.
Inspectors also found bags of dirty linen on the ground outside the main entrance to the hospital awaiting collection.
As a result of this NHS Tayside are required to assure that staff are aware of all standard infection control precautions, that these are implemented and that compliance is monitored.
This will ensure the risk of the spread of infection is reduced.
NHS Tayside must also implement the Health Facilities Scotland national colour coding scheme for hospital cleaning materials, equipment and personal protective equipment.
This will reduce the risk of cross infection and improve cleaning practice.
The national colour coding scheme developed by Health Facilities Scotland (HFS) requires the use of colour coding for all cleaning materials and equipment.
Blue equipment and materials should be used for general areas, red for bathrooms and toilets, green for kitchens and yellow for isolation areas.
Domestic assistants in Stracathro Hospital used blue, red and yellow buckets and mops.
This was the only use of colour coding in the hospital.
The use of colour coding for cleaning materials and equipment ensures that items are not used in multiple areas thereby reducing the risk of cross infection.
Personal protective equipment is provided at ward level for domestic staff to use which is also not colour coded.
NHS Tayside have been recommended to:
Display information on MRSA and Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) rates for individual wards to ensure staff, patients and visitors are fully informed of the infection rates.
Review the availability of alcohol hand gel at the point of patient care and entrances to bed bays. This will ensure that staff perform hand decontamination where no wash hand basin is available at the point of patient care. In addition, alcohol hand gel will be more accessible to visitors.
Consistently implement a single assurance system for the cleaning of patient equipment. This is to ensure that patient equipment is clean before use by another patient.
Develop a structured and effective system for the communication of the status of outstanding estates jobs to ward staff. This will ensure staff are kept informed of work taking place in their ward.
Ensure that all staff are aware that update training in infection prevention and control is mandatory.
Speaking of the report Susan Brimelow, HEI Chief Inspector, said “Our inspection found that overall Stracathro Hospital was clean and the hospital was well maintained.
“However, we identified an area of improvement which we have raised previously with NHS Tayside, which is the requirement to implement national colour coding for equipment and cleansing materials to reduce the risk of cross infection.
“Stracathro Hospital must also ensure that alcohol hand gel is available for staff and visitors.”