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A spokesperson for HIQA told the Medical Independent (MI) this programme will comprise part of its overall approach to monitoring against the National Standards for the Prevention and Control of Healthcare Associated Infection in Acute Healthcare Services.
“Ensuring compliance with best practice in the decontamination of such devices is an important area of safety in all hospitals and comprises one of many measures that need to be in place to protect patients from colonisation or infection with multidrug resistant organisms,” said HIQA’s spokesperson. “There has been and will continue to be an ever greater number of procedures carried out by such devices (for example, endoscopic procedures), which means that this will likely become a bigger area of risk over time.”
HIQA has decided to focus on this area as a discrete monitoring programme “as it requires a detailed technical evaluation of the measures hospitals have put in place and we felt that in order for us to both properly prepare for monitoring, and to ensure coherence from the perspective of providers, a separate inspection process was needed”.
When this inspection type is established it will run parallel to, but separate from, HIQA’s more general overarching inspection approach against these standards.
“We intend to publish a guidance document related to this inspection type for providers shortly and we will start inspections in this area in hospitals from early 2018.”
Meanwhile, HIQA’s spokesperson said that, through its monitoring process in public acute hospitals, it has “repeatedly raised concerns” to the HSE and the Department of Health in relation to “the effectiveness of the national response to the management of the risk of emergent Gram-negative resistance, dating back to 2014”.
The spokesperson added: “Our published monitoring work at the University of Limerick Hospital has repeatedly identified deficits that have required both more effective management at local level, and more concerted tangible support from a national level to assist them in dealing with an ongoing outbreak of CPE. Many of the underlying deficits identified in Limerick are equally present across the wider acute hospital system – not least acute hospital overcrowding, poor infrastructure and environmental hygiene, and inconsistency in infection prevention and control team resourcing.”