Children's hospital under fire over hygiene

IMPROVEMENTS have been demanded at a children's hospital amid evidence of stained mattresses and staff not washing their hands properly.

The Healthcare Environment Inspectorate (HEI) also noted signs of wear and tear to chair beds and soft-play cushions at the Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital (RACH).

The inspectors' report highlighted 11 areas for improvement at the hospital and listed a further nine recommendations. However, the report found that the hospital was generally clean and in a good state of repair.

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It concluded that the health board was "working hard" to comply with standards to protect patients, staff and visitors from infections.

NHS Grampian said an action plan was being put in place to resolve the issues "as a matter of priority". The RACH provides acute care for children up to the age of 14. The current building was opened in 2004.

The HEI carried out a pre-planned inspection at the hospital on 22 and 23 September. The results of the inspection were published yesterday. Overall, inspectors found that the hospital was clean and they praised the management of patients with known or suspected infections.

The report also pinpointed several areas for improvement, including checks on the cleanliness of mattresses.

The report said: "During an inspection of the medical ward, three mattresses were checked. Two were found to be stained."

The HEI team also noted "issues" surrounding staff hand-washing techniques. In particular, it noted that a consultant was spotted failing to wash his hands after leaving a patient's room.

Medical staff on the surgical ward were also observed not consistently employing the correct hand-washing technique, the report said.

NHS Grampian said reducing the risk of the spread of infection was a priority.