Borders hospital slammed over bloody mops and boots

The Border General Hospital near Melrose in The Scottish Borders. Picture: Stuart CobleyThe Border General Hospital near Melrose in The Scottish Borders. Picture: Stuart Cobley
The Border General Hospital near Melrose in The Scottish Borders. Picture: Stuart Cobley
A HOSPITAL has been ordered to tighten its infection control procedures after inspectors found bloodstained mops and footwear.

An unannounced inspection was carried out in the theatre areas of Borders General Hospital in Melrose on 13 and 14 May.

The Healthcare Environment Inspectorate (HEI) watchdog said standards needed to improve in order to reduce the risk of infection among patients and medical staff.

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Officers witnessed surgeons with blood-contaminated boots in a corridor following a surgical procedure and dirty mop poles not being decontaminated between procedures. HEI has issued seven requirements which it says must be addressed “as a matter of priority”.

Jacqui Macrae, head of quality of care at HEI, said: “Overall, our inspectors found that NHS Borders demonstrated varying compliance with the standards to protect patients, staff and visitors from the risk of acquiring an infection.

“Further improvement is required in a number of areas, particularly in relation to staff following standard infection control precautions. For example, staff should ensure that all equipment used for cleaning the theatre environment is cleaned following each use and is stored appropriately.”

Inspectors at the 273-bed hospital assessed staff adherence to standard infection control precautions, which include hand washing, equipment cleaning and the management of blood and body fluid spillages. They witnessed theatre staff failing to clean their hands between tasks and not removing their facemasks and gloves when leaving the theatre.

Health Protection Scotland states that all personal protection equipment should be removed and disposed of immediately after use and hands should be decontaminated after the completion of individual tasks.

Inspectors noted that mop poles in each theatre were “significantly” contaminated with blood and body fluids and were not being stored appropriately.

It said in the report: “We observed that the method used to mop the floor was not consistent and resulted in blood being smeared around a greater area than was originally contaminated. Nursing staff cleaning the floor had not been trained on how to correctly use the microfibre cleaning system.

“We raised our concerns with the senior management team during our inspection.”

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Evelyn Rodger, director of nursing and midwifery at NHS Borders, said: “Feedback from the inspectors indicated a number of instances where policies and procedures were not being correctly followed.

“In these instances our standards fell below those expected by our patients and staff, and I would like to stress that staff from theatres and beyond took immediate action to address the issues pointed out to us during the inspection, which is acknowledged within the report.”

NHS Borders medical director Dr Sheena MacDonald said: “We investigate every single instance of infection and take action in order to continuously improve.”