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Twenty-one NHS Trusts fail hygiene test

Introduced last week for registering NHS Trusts as fit to practice, the new health watchdog for England has failed 21 Trusts on their hygiene practices

Introduced last week for registering NHS Trusts as fit to practice, the new health watchdog for England has failed 21 Trusts on their hygiene practices.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC), which has taken over as the 'super-regulator' for health and social care, said these Trusts may be fined, or forced to close wards or departments if they do not quickly come up to scratch. The 21 Trusts were given between one and eight months to comply.

All 388 NHS organisations that provide direct care to patients have been registered but of the 21 that failed, 13 Trusts admitted non-compliance and eight had conditions imposed, after the CQC found evidence of poor infection control, high infection rates or potential risk to patients.

It was, however, reported that these 13 Trusts have improvement plans already in place. A spokesperson for the CQC said: "We expect those Trusts to rapidly improve the safety of the services provided."

Problems found included inadequate cleaning of ambulances, poor antibiotic prescribing practice, delays in isolating infected patients, lack of supervision of cleaning and infection-control staff, dirty surgical equipment, lack of reporting of infection control measures to board level, delays in receiving laboratory test results and poor standards of cleanliness on wards.

Barbara Young, who chairs the CQC, said: "Most Trusts have stronger systems to protect patients from infection than a few years ago, and Trusts' boards are taking the challenges seriously. We commend them for that."

Registration on healthcare-associated infection is the first step towards full registration on all basic standards; a regime that comes into effect from April 2010.

For further information on the conditions the CQC has placed on the Trusts and registration on healthcare-associated infection, go to www.cqc.org.uk

6th April 2009

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