Cleaning in a newly-opened ward at St John’s Hospital in Livingston has been praised in a report by the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate, although there is still room for improvement.

In the report, published today, and which you can view online here, inspectors highlighted the good practice observed in ward 25, which had been designed to make cleaning easier and provide a clean environment. Overall, the inspectors said the standard of cleanliness in 10 of the 11 areas inspected was good.

Speaking of the report, Susan Brimelow, HEI Chief Inspector, said “Overall, we found evidence that St John’s Hospital is complying with the majority of NHS QIS healthcare associated infection standards to protect patients, staff and visitors from the risk of acquiring an infection. In particular we found that there was clear and effective communication between ward and domestic staff, the majority of areas inspected were clean, and the fabric of the building was found to be good. However we did find areas for improvement including that information on healthcare associated infections was not communicated effectively to patients and the public, and access to clinical sinks in ward areas needs to be reviewed.”

However the report noted that, while good hand hygiene practice was generally observed among staff, some staff were not washing or cleaning their hands appropriately on ward 21 when moving between beds or entering and leaving the ward.

The report also calls for a number of improvements, including:

* A review of access to clinical sinks in ward areas
* Better communication of information on HAIs to patients and the public
* A robust system of ongoing patient risk assessment before, during and after refurbishment work

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:-

“I established the independent Healthcare Environment Inspectorate to drive up standards in Scotland’s hospitals because tackling hospital infections is my top priority.

“Today’s report highlights a number of areas of good practice but also found areas where improvement is required. I would particularly echo the inspectors’ message about hand hygiene – there really is no excuse for staff failing to comply with hand hygiene procedures given it is recognised as one of the most effective ways of preventing the spread of infections in our hospitals.

“I know NHS Lothian will work with the inspectorate to ensure that all the issues raised are addressed as soon as possible and an action plan is already in place.”