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Only 10 per cent of NHS trusts meet hygiene code

The Healthcare Commission, the health watchdog for England, has published results of hygiene spotchecks at 51 acute NHS trusts

The Healthcare Commission, the health watchdog for England, has published results of hygiene spotchecks at 51 acute NHS trusts.

According to the report only five trusts met all requirements of the hygiene code and that more than half of the trusts inspected were failing to keep all areas of their premises clean and well maintained.

The Commission praised the NHS for its commitment to reducing healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) and highlighted that most trusts had improved their infection prevention processes, such as ensuring staff had clean uniforms in order to reduce the risk of infections spreading and staff being appointed to infection prevention and control roles.

Spotchecks revealed that one in five trusts failed to follow the correct procedures for the decontamination of instruments and equipment used in patient care, while one in eight trusts did not provide adequate isolation facilities.

The watchdog viewed steps being taken by trusts to remedy breaches of the hygiene code, such as further cleaning and the replacement of equipment, positively.

Anna Walker, the Commission's chief executive, said: "It is clear that the NHS is paying close attention to infection prevention and control. Trusts have made real progress with many getting good systems in place and demonstrating clear board leadership on this important issue. Where we have raised concerns, we have generally been encouraged by the positive and prompt response at those trusts. Importantly, we have found few breaches requiring immediate action to protect the safety of patients - and where we have [found breaches] we have taken swift action. There are signs that all this is paying real dividends in terms of the impact on infection."

From April next year, all NHS trusts will be required to register with the new Care Quality Commission (CQC). They will be required to demonstrate that they meet key standards set by the government on infection prevention and control. Trusts failing to meet the registration requirements risk fines or the imposition of conditions controlled by the CQC.

24th November 2008

From: Healthcare

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