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New aspergillosis guidance ‘by end of summer’ — HSE

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) Aspergillus Sub-Committee is due to be convened to review the responses and a new guidance document should be finalised by the end of the summer, according to the HSE.

The updated HPSC document will replace national guidance published in 2002. Consultant microbiologists, nurses working in infection prevention and control, and HSE Estates, were among the parties who responded to the call for submissions.

Numerous HIQA hospital inspection findings have identified inadequate control of aspergillus.

In HIQA’s report on South Tipperary General Hospital, published last month, it noted that building works were underway at the time of its inspections in March/April 2016 but there was  “poor adherence” to aspergillus control measures on the paediatric ward during the March inspection. This included windows not being sealed — and some being open — and “lack of education” of relevant staff regarding aspergillus control. Patient information leaflets were not available and the hospital’s environmental monitoring committee with responsibility for the governance and management of aspergillus control had last met in 2014. 

A report on the inspection of Cork University Hospital/Cork University Maternity Hospital, published last month, also raised concerns over aspergillus control.

Major construction works were ongoing at the time of the inspection in May 2016 and HIQA inspectors observed that several windows on the ground floor next to construction works were not sealed and some were open. Furthermore, there was “a lack of documentation” relating to ongoing aspergillus control measures and “no record” of education of relevant staff on the prevention and control of invasive aspergillosis during construction work.

Additionally, information leaflets were not provided to inform patients, relatives, healthcare workers and those involved in construction of the risk of aspergillosis during construction work.

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