Blood contamination found on birthing equipment at Vale of Leven Hospital

CONTAMINATED incubators and bloody and worn birthing equipment prepared for use were found during an unannounced hospital inspection.

Vale of Leven Hospital, Alexandra. Picture by Donald MacLeod
Vale of Leven Hospital, Alexandra. Picture by Donald MacLeod

The Healthcare Environment Inspectorate (HEI) has urged NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to improve cleanliness in the midwifery ward at Vale of Leven Hospital, West Dunbartonshire.

It found the standard of cleanliness was good in the majority of wards during the inspection on April 27-28, but urged the health board to address the issues in the midwifery ward “as a matter of priority”.

Inspectors found blood on a baby resuscitation mask box in a delivery room, and blood on the inside of the cover and the mattress foam of a birthing mat which was ready for the next patient.

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They also found cot mattress covers that were contaminated to the core, visible contamination on an incubator mattress and inner surfaces, and dirt on two sets of birthing stirrups.

The report states: “We saw that some of this contaminated equipment was included on equipment check-lists or nursing cleaning schedules for patient bed spaces.

“These had been signed by a member of staff to confirm they had cleaned the equipment.

“We also found that some of the contaminated items were not included on any check-lists or cleaning schedules.

“We discussed this with the senior charge midwife at the time of the inspection.

“We were told that this would be discussed with the midwifery lead nurse and other senior charge midwives in community midwifery units in the Clyde sector of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

“We found that some of this contaminated equipment was in a poor state of repair and could not be effectively cleaned. This included some of the mattress covers and the birthing stirrups.”

Jacqui Macrae, deputy director of quality assurance for Healthcare Improvement Scotland, said: “In this inspection we found that the standard of cleanliness was good across the majority of wards and departments inspected.

“In addition, specialist advice about infection prevention and control was recorded and communicated between staff.

“However, we also identified a number of areas for improvement including that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde must ensure that all re-usable patient equipment is appropriately cleaned following use in the community midwifery unit.

“We expect NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to address these areas as a matter of priority and we will continue to monitor the hospital to ensure that standards of safety and cleanliness continue to improve.”