Hygiene at Wexford hospital criticised in HIQA report

‘Culture of hand hygiene best practice was not embedded at all levels’ in the hospital

A HIQA report has found poor levels of hygiene at Wexford General Hospital and has questioned the hospital's commitment to reducing patients' risk of infection.

The report outlined numerous deficiencies most notably in hand hygiene and clinical waste disposal.

It stated that “a culture of hand hygiene best practice was not embedded at all levels” in the hospital, and remarked on the lack of leadership to “prevent and control of healthcare associated infections”.

It found Wexford’s compliance rate of 72 per cent in last June’s hand hygiene audit was 18 percentage points short of acceptable standard for hospitals and 13 percentage points short of the national average.


The report also found a resistance amongst staff to attend educational sessions aimed at improving hygiene awareness.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Wexford hospital's clinical director Dr Colm Quigley accepted the findings and gave a commitment to improve hygiene standards.

“We’re all utterly determined to ensure that the issues raised by HIQA will be addressed. We completely accept the HIQA report, we embrace it, and we will make sure that all hand hygiene practices that are mandatory will be carried out,” said Dr Quigley.

“We’ve moved over to very aggressive, disciplinary-based approaches to ensuring hand hygiene attendance for all our staff.

“Up to now we have achieved a level of hand hygiene compliance which is just not acceptable- 72 per cent is just not good enough,” he added.

Responding to criticisms in the report regarding the hospital’s failure to provide reliable figures for hand hygiene training, Dr Quigley said staffing difficulties had affected the hospital’s capacity to report accurate figures

He gave a commitment to resuming the delivery of all audits and reports.

Conditions at Wexford hospital were assessed during an announced inspection in February 2013, along with follow-up inspections in March and April this year.

Of particular concern was a repeated failure to lock rooms containing syringes and hypodermic needles.

A failure to dispose of personal protective equipment for staff in the St Joseph’s acute medical unit, along with an unsatisfactory level of improvement between the unannounced visits in March and April, was also mentioned.