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C.diff outbreak hospital told to improve infection control

A HOSPITAL at the centre of a C.diff outbreak six years ago that contributed to the deaths of 28 patients has been warned by health inspectors to improve infection control procedures.

SUSAN BRIMELOW: Called for improvements within a month.
SUSAN BRIMELOW: Called for improvements within a month.

Staff at the Vale of Leven ­Hospital in Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire have been ordered to wear the correct gloves and prioritise the disposal of waste appropriately by the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate (HEI).

Inspectors found some staff were unsure on the correct way to clean up blood spillages and also found evidence of poor waste disposal on three wards, with ­clinical waste put in a ­domestic bin.

Hospital bosses and the families of the victims are awaiting a report into the C.diff outbreak, which is due to be published shortly.

Despite the flaws discovered, the inspection team, which made a surprise visit on January 16, found overall that wards were clean and staff were knowledgeable about infection control.

HEI Chief inspector Susan Brimelow said: "This inspection found evidence that Vale of Leven Hospital is working to comply with the majority of standards to protect patients, staff and visitors from acquiring an infection.

"Patients spoke positively about the cleanliness of their wards and staff were aware of their individual responsibilities for the prevention and control of infection.

"We also found significant improvements have been made to the physiotherapy department, which has been refurbished since our last inspection."

She called for improvements to be made within a month in ­ensuring staff complied properly with current guidelines on gloves selection policy and their usage.

The inspectorate also wants standard infection control precautions to be applied for waste management and disposal within the time period.

The hospital has 92 beds and was last inspected in June 2012.

Health Secretary Alex Neil said the report showed it was "driving up quality improvements".

He said: "While the hospital has made significant progress in this area, achieved by supporting staff to embed good practice across all services, we can never be complacent about healthcare associated infections (HAIs).

"The government is committed to looking critically at all services to ensure they are providing the highest standard of care for patients and these inspections are one of a range of measures we are taking to tackle HAIs.

"I want every patient to have complete confidence in the cleanliness of their local hospital and the quality and safety of its services. While the Vale of Leven has undergone service redesign and improvement, I expect NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to keep working hard to address the issues flagged in this report and continue to make progress in this key priority area."

HEI was established in 2009 to help reduce the risk of infection among hospital patients. Each year it carries out around 30 inspections.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) admitted that staff knowledge of the correct procedure for cleaning spills was poor among staff. However, the report found that senior charge nurses "spoke confidently about standard infection control precautions (SICPs), monitoring activity and the various infection control activities on their wards.

Of 46 patients surveyed, 41 said the ward was always clean and the hospital was also praised for refurbishing the gym area.

Rory Farrelly, NHSGGC's Acute Director of Nursing said: "We were very pleased to note the number of positive findings at the Vale of Leven Hospital by the HEI inspectors.

"However, we recognise that there are still areas we need to address and are working with staff to ensure that the requirements and recommendations made by the inspection team are implemented."

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