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Infrastructure deficits ‘a challenge’ for hospitals – HIQA

Lack of single room capacity and maintenance issues remain a “challenge” for acute hospitals, according to HIQA’s latest inspection reports on infection prevention and control during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Risk-based inspections were carried out in October and November 2020 in Naas General Hospital; Letterkenny University Hospital; University Hospital Limerick; South Tipperary General Hospital; and Midland Regional Hospital Mullingar.

According to HIQA, a “significant amount of work” had been undertaken by all the hospitals in implementing multiple measures to mitigate and manage potential threats posed by Covid-19.

“Specific risks related to infection prevention control practices at Naas General Hospital and specialist infection prevention and control staffing deficits at South Tipperary General Hospital were identified and escalated to their respective Hospital Group chief executive officers (CEOs) for mitigation. Assurances were subsequently provided that these issues were addressed following each inspection.”

All hospitals had experienced Covid-19 outbreaks in the first wave of the pandemic. At the time of inspection, outbreak reports had been completed following outbreaks in only two out of the five hospitals. However, according to HIQA, each hospital had “endeavoured to learn” from the outbreaks experienced during the first phase of the pandemic.

Two wards were inspected in every hospital; one ward on the Covid-19 pathway and one on the non-Covid-19 pathway. Overall, the environment and equipment were clean in four hospitals, with “improvements required” in Letterkenny University Hospital around the hygiene of equipment in one ward area.

The inspection reports are available on HIQA’s website – https://www.hiqa.ie/reports-and-publications/inspection-reports

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