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hospital inspection Dublin hospital hit with multiple Covid outbreaks had poor disease prevention measures, Hiqa report finds

In the first wave of the pandemic almost a third (30pc) of cases in the facility were hospital associated and linked to ten wards.

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A Dublin hospital hit with multiple Covid-19 outbreaks last year had poor disease prevention measures in place, a Hiqa report has found.

An inspection of Tallaght University Hospital found that measures to prevent staff crossover between Covid and non-Covid streams were not in place, while potential weaknesses were also identified in the patient screening process.

In the first wave of the pandemic almost a third (30pc) of cases in the facility were hospital associated and linked to ten wards.

Up until last December, when the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) inspection took place, there had been 19 outbreaks of the virus within the hospital.

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An inspection of Tallaght University Hospital found that measures to prevent staff crossover between Covid and non-Covid streams were not in place

An inspection of Tallaght University Hospital found that measures to prevent staff crossover between Covid and non-Covid streams were not in place

An inspection of Tallaght University Hospital found that measures to prevent staff crossover between Covid and non-Covid streams were not in place

Several risks identified by inspectors did “not provide assurance” that “measures implemented to address the identified risks were either entirely effective or sufficient”, it said.

They found that screening of patients for exposure to Covid-19 on arrival at the Emergency Department did not take place until registration.

This, they said, was not in line with HSE guidelines and presented a “potential weakness to the rapid identification and streaming of patients” into separate pathways.

Management said there was limited space in the emergency department which was cited as a barrier to a pre-triage assessment.

The Hiqa report stated that, of six themes examined, ensuring a safe environment which minimises disease transmission was the one area in which the hospital was non-compliant.

They found that cross-over of medical and cleaning staff between different pathways required improvement, as did cleaning resources.

The report also said that “poor compliance with infection prevention and control practices needs to improve significantly across the hospital”.

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Management itself expressed disappointment at the poor compliance observed with local uniform policy and isolation precautions.

Inspectors also noted that during a review of one ward it found doors to three isolation rooms were open.

The report found that the continuation of infection prevention control audits was commendable given the circumstances.

It said that, despite numerous infection prevention controls being implemented, the hospital still experienced Covid-19 outbreaks.

Traffic control measures and the mingling of patients from outbreak wards in the smoking hut were identified by staff as contributing factors to ongoing transmission.

Other areas which Hiqa praised were the hospital’s vaccination programme, which saw over 80pc of staff receive the vaccine at the time of the inspection.

The report described the uptake as “commendable” and passed the national target of 75pc for 2020.

A separate inspection of Wexford General Hospital also found specific risks related to infection prevention control practices.

In addition, specialist infection prevention and control staff deficits were identified at University Hospital Kerry.

Hiqs said a “significant amount” of work had been implemented in all three hospitals to mitigate and manage potential threats posed by COVID-19.


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