1. ITV Report

'Changes immediately made' following critical report of Borders Hospital

The Borders General Hospital. Photo: ITV Border

NHS Borders says it has already made improvements to cleanliness at the Borders General Hospital, following a critical report into hygiene.

The Healthcare Environment Inspectorate carried out an unannounced theatre inspection at the hospital, on 13 and 14 May, 2015.

It found "further improvement" was needed, and that there was "varying compliance", when it came to NHS standards for protecting patients, staff and visitors from infection.

The Trust's Medical Director, Dr Sheena MacDonald, says:

"The main risk of poor standards of cleanliness would be an infection in a patient’s wound resulting from surgery."

The report makes the following Priority 1 Requirements, which have to be addressed immediately by the Trust:

  • Ensure staff decontaminate their hands in accordance with Health Protection Scotland’s National Infection Prevention and Control Manual (2015). Staff compliance with these hand hygiene practices must also be effectively monitored
  • Ensure all staff use personal protective equipment in-line with Health Protection Scotland’s National Infection Prevention and Control Manual (2015)
  • Ensure all contaminated mop heads are managed in line with the Health Protection Scotland’s National InfectionPrevention and Control Manual (2015)
  • Ensure all staff within the theatre department manage blood spillages appropriately, as described in Health Protection Scotland’s National Infection Prevention andControl Manual (2015)
  • Ensure all staff responsible for cleaning the theatres, follow the correct cleaning methods
  • Ensure all equipment used for cleaning the theatre environment is cleaned following each use and is stored appropriately. This will minimise the risk of cross-infection and cross-contamination within the department
  • Ensure equipment used within the theatre department is free from damage and can be effectively cleaned

The NHS Borders Trust says it welcomes the report, and has already implemented all of the requirements.

Feedback from the Inspectors indicated a number of instances where policies and procedures were not being correctly followed, in particular in relation to cleaning methods.

In these instances our standards fell below those expected by our patients and staff, and I would like to stress that staff from Theatres and beyond took immediate action to address the issues that were pointed out to us during the inspection, which is acknowledged within the report.

Cleaning methods and documentation have been reviewed and a new training programme has been completed through which every member of staff has been assessed on their knowledge, understanding and practical skills in relation to the correct cleaning methods."

– Director of Nursing and Midwifery at NHS Borders, Evelyn Rodger

Whilst being disappointed with the findings, changes were immediately made, both to practice and training, and our continued vigilance and monitoring will provide assurance of sustained improvement.

It is also appropriate to acknowledge that, despite these findings, our measured outcomes and quality indicators remain good.

By using our learning from this report we will ensure that the people of the Borders continue to receive the high standard of safe surgical care they expect and deserve.”

– Dr David Love, Consultant in Anaesthesia and Critical Care and Associate Medical Director in Clinical Governance and Quality at NHS Borders