Livingston hospital slammed over bloodstained A&E

A HEALTH board has been criticised by inspectors over the “poor” cleanliness of a major hospital’s accident and emergency unit, where beds, mattress covers and lamps were found contaminated with body fluids.

St John's Hospital in Livingston. Picture: Geograph

Staff from the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate (HEI) – part of Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) – highlighted several concerns about St John’s Hospital in Livingston during an unannounced visit this summer.

Although they found the hospital was complying with the majority of infection prevention and control standards and that the overall environment was clean, standards in A&E were below par.

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The findings are detailed in a report published yesterday by the inspectorate, the national healthcare watchdog for Scotland. It has resulted in four requirements and three recommendations which, inspectors say, NHS Lothian is “fully expected to address”.

Detailing the inspection, the team, led by senior HIS inspector Alastair McGown, highlighted numerous failings at the A&E department, writing: “In the accident and emergency department, the standard of patient equipment cleanliness was poor.

“We inspected six patient trolley beds and found all six beds were contaminated, some with body fluids. We inspected five mattress covers and all five covers were damaged. We also inspected the internal mattresses of five beds. We found two were stained.”

In the resuscitation room, two overhead patient examination lamps were contaminated with blood. There was also blood contamination on walls and under the surfaces of worktops, as well as on a sharps bin.

HEI carried out the inspection on 20 and 21 August. Inspectors raised their observations with the A&E unit’s senior charge nurse, clinical nurse manager and infection control nurse. It “escalated” its concerns to senior management in NHS Lothian and requested that “immediate actions be taken to improve the cleaning of patient equipment in accident and emergency”.

On their return to St John’s the following week, inspectors found that the cleanliness issues in A&E had been “dealt with” and were assured that “significant progress” had been made to address the issues identified.

Susan Brimelow, chief inspector at HIS, said: “Overall, our inspection found evidence that St John’s is complying with the majority of infection prevention and control standards to protect patients, staff and visitors from acquiring an infection.”

Sarah Ballard-Smith, deputy executive nurse director at NHS Lothian, said: “We welcome the report from the Health Environment Inspectorate and we are pleased that some areas were singled out for individual praise, including the cleanliness of the general hospital, good sharps management and hand hygiene practices.”