SINN Féin Finance Spokesperson Deputy Pearse Doherty has given a cautious welcome to the action taken by Management at Letterkenny General Hospital to address recent findings by HIQA. However he has stressed that preventative action must be prioritised to ensure that standards are not allowed to decline into the future.
HIQA’s report into the findings of unannounced inspections at Letterkenny General last month found very serious issues such as incidences of poor hand hygiene practices, substandard cleaning processes and deficits in ward maintenance at the Hospital.
During these inspections, poor ward maintenance as well as poorly maintained and worn surfaces and finishes were observed by inspectors who also noted that wall paintwork was in an unsatisfactory state.
Hand washing practices at the hospital also came in for harsh criticism with poor water pressure and discrepancies in water temperature at hand washing sinks having been found by inspectors.
Following its publication, Deputy Doherty raised the report’s findings with the Health Minister and asked him to detail what assistance he was willing to provide to hospital authorities in order to address these very serious issues reported by HIQA.
“I’ve since received a response from Management at Letterkenny General in which they state that a number of measures have since been taken to resolve the deficits identified in the report.
“These include the deep cleaning of Medical Ward 2, on-going bed and mattress replacement, the provision of additional training for cleaning staff, as well as the introduction of an updated protocol for auditing the cleaning of wards.
“Management has also confirmed that refurbishment work will continue to be carried out to both Orthopaedics and Surgical 2 to address the issues of maintenance identified by the HIQA inspectors, while the painting and re-flooring of these areas have been progressed.”
“Also of huge importance was the issues found around hand hygiene practices amongst personnel with management stating that regular audits are carried out into hand washing to ensure compliance,” Deputy Doherty said.
“I have submitted a Parliamentary Question to the Minister in which I’ve asked that he gives the full details of a prioritised plan for ‘proactive preventative maintenance’ which was established earlier this year and which continues to be rolled out on a phased basis across the hospital,” he added.