Edinburgh Sick Kids told to improve cleaning

The Sick Kids' Hospital. Picture: TSPL
The Sick Kids' Hospital. Picture: TSPL
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A LEADING Scottish children’s hospital has been told to improve cleaning standards after inspectors found dirty equipment on wards.

An inspection at the Sick Kids Hospital in Edinburgh found cleanliness was “generally satisfactory”, but identified a number of pieces of equipment contaminated with blood and dust.

The Healthcare Environment Inspectorate (HEI) told the hospital to make urgent improvements to its cleaning routines.

The majority of people questioned by the inspectors at the Sick Kids Hospital said their ward was clean.

But the report also assessed a variety of patient equipment to check for standards of cleanliness.

On the critical care unit they found dusty equipment, as well as blood on a tray used to dispose of sharp objects and on the wall. They also found a fan “covered with an unknown spillage”.

Dust was found on a resuscitation trolley in the neonatal ward and blood on monitoring equipment.

On another ward the inspectors reported contamination in the toilets as well as a strained mattress and treatment trolley.

The inspection report issued a requirement that NHS Lothian make sure that staff understand and implement checks around beds on a daily basis.

“This will provide assurance that patient equipment is clean and ready to use,” it said.

The inspectors also issued another requirement over concerns about the disposal of water from baby baths and other large amounts of water in sinks where people wash their hands.

Guidance says large quantities of water should be discarded in a sluice or sink not used for handwashing.

But this was not always possible at the Sick Kids due to factors such as the design of the building.

Nurses in one ward said water from baby baths, bed baths and nappy changes was put down the hand basin in the patient’s room as there were no alternative facilities. Elsewhere in the hospital, facilities were available to dispose of water in a sluice.

The inspectors said: “NHS Lothian must undertake a risk assessment if it is not possible to comply with the instruction to dispose of larger volumes of water in a sluice or a sink which is not a hand wash station.”

Susan Brimelow, HEI’s chief inspector, said: “Overall, we found evidence that NHS Lothian is complying with most standards to protect children, staff and visitors from the risk of acquiring an infection.

“We noted good compliance with the national dress code policy and there was satisfactory compliance with most standard infection control precautions.

“However, we also identified a number of areas for improvement including that NHS Lothian must ensure that all patient equipment is clean and ready to use.

“We expect NHS Lothian to address these issues as a matter of priority.” Melanie Hornett, director of unscheduled care at NHS Lothian, said: “The inspection resulted in two requirements. We have now finished the necessary work to complete these requirements.

“There were four areas the inspectors said could be improved on and these have been addressed as part of an ongoing improvement plan that has been developed following the visit.”