Trolleys 'contaminated with blood' during hospital checks
A surprise inspection of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital found hygiene lacking.
Inspectors reviewing a Glasgow hospital found patient transfer trolleys contaminated with blood and hand hygiene lacking among catering staff.
The surprise inspection at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital took place between January 29 and January 31, shortly after the death of a child was linked to a pigeon dropping infection at the hospital.
On the first day of the inspection, issues were found in the emergency department, with two patient transfer trolleys which were ready for use contaminated with what appeared to be blood.
Contamination was found on the underside of dressing trolleys, body fluid and grime was found on toilet seat hinges in the reception and patient areas and floors throughout the department were found to be dusty and gritty.
Grime was also found on alcohol-based hand-rub dispensers and dust was discovered on patient monitoring equipment, sterile storage shelving and anaesthetic machines in the resuscitation department.
In other areas, catering staff were seen not carrying out hand hygiene after contact with a patient or the patient's surroundings.
The report notes that inspectors were told of examples where it was felt that senior management had not reacted to concerns regarding the environment's effect on clinical care.
Examples included not reacting to the clinical concerns raised by senior charge nurses, in particular relating to the cleaning of vents that can affect patient safety and not taking on board the concerns of clinical staff.
The report also revealed that areas were found in a poor state of repair, with estate management providing a list of at least 300 outstanding jobs without evidence of a plan to complete them.
Patients were spoken to during the inspection, with some saying that the standard of cleanliness of the hospital was high.
'The report has...highlighted a number of areas that we need to address. Work is already underway to action the requirements and recommendation that Healthcare Improvement Scotland have identified.'Jane Grant, Chief Executive of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
One patient said: "I could not fault standard of cleanliness. I had visitors in, one had been in another hospital, could not believe amount of times staff were in and out cleaning surfaces."
Another said: "The staff are always cleaning equipment, washing their hands and making sure everyone's bed is changed daily."
However, one said: "Cleanliness on ward is good but corridors and other areas is terrible."
Jane Grant, chief executive of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: "I welcome today's report from Healthcare Improvement Scotland into the recent inspection of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and the Royal Hospital for Children.
"The report contains a number of positive findings, including good staff awareness of infection control and high levels of hand hygiene compliance. The inspectors have also confirmed that infection rates are within acceptable levels.
"The report has, however, highlighted a number of areas that we need to address. Work is already underway to action the requirements and recommendation that Healthcare Improvement Scotland have identified.
"Patients should be assured that the prevention and control of infection has always been, and remains, a top priority for NHSGGC."
The Glasgow hospital has come under fire in recent months for a number of issues of contamination, in which two people died.
Two patients, including a child, died after contracting an infection linked to pigeon droppings.
The youngster died in December after contracting Cryptococcus caused by a large amount of excrement at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.
An elderly patient died of other causes having also caught Cryptococcus. That patient was discharged for palliative care in November but later died in December.
In February, Health Protection Scotland (HPS) launched an investigation after patients in wards for those with compromised immune systems at the Royal Hospital for Children (RHC) were found to have infections.
An HPS investigation report states the first child was infected in 2016, with a total of 25 cases found by September 2018, when the patients were moved out of the wards 2A/B and into the neighbouring Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH).
No patients died as a result of the outbreak, but a number of children required "additional intervention" and there were delays to chemotherapy treatments.
Tests found "widespread contamination of the water system that serves both QEUH and RHC".
Ms Grant added: "Infection rates in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and the Royal Hospital for Children are low - lower than the average rate of infection in Scotland's hospitals.
"For further reassurance on infection control we asked Health Protection Scotland to carry out a detailed review of our infection performance compared to similar large hospitals over the past three years.
"Their findings confirmed that at no time during this period did infection rates at QEUH and RHC exceed expected levels.
"Our highly dedicated staff are committed to quality care and patient safety and we are determined to ensure that our hospitals are clean and as safe as they can be for our patients."