New Report highlights inadequacies in NHS hygiene standards

By Tim Tonkin, thecheers.org    2008-07-22 12:08:42    

Hospitals and Primary Care Trusts (PCT) in England have been revealed to be failing to meet a range of government targets concerning hygiene.
A new report published by the Healthcare Commission has shown that over 100 hospitals and other NHS organisations demonstrated insufficient compliance regarding one or more parts of the 2006 hygiene code.

The code was introduced two years ago as a countermeasure to the perceived increase in so-called “Super Bugs” such as MRSA and C difficile. Hospitals administrators face even stricter regulation next year with a newly proposed “Hygiene Test”. Hospitals and PCT failing to make the grade of would be rendered unable to offer treatment. Speaking in the Guardian on the 16th June, commission executive Anna Walker stated: “By April 2009, all NHS hospitals will have to abide by all of the hygiene code…we will give them all the help we can, but this is a wake-up call”

Despite the code and the increased attention given to hospital infections only 39.4% of PCT were found to be attaining all 44 of the code’s core standards. This is in contrast to last year where the figure was found to be around 40.1%. Furthermore, the report indicated failures to meet standards regarding decontamination of surgical equipment, and infection control on wards.

Yet in spite of these findings, the Ministry of Health has been loath to concede that there has been a decline in standards, stressing instead the positive aspects of the report. Health Minister Ben Bradshaw insisted that there had been a “dramatic fall” in the number of PCT failing on more than 14 core standards and that; overall, infection control was showing “significant improvement”.

Public concerns regarding the standards of cleanliness in hospitals have been exacerbated in recent years, owing to a number of widely publicised incidences of hospital acquired infection fatalities. Last year 90 patients died as the result of a C difficile outbreak in Kent.




Tim Tonkin, The Cheers News


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