Poor cleanliness in a hospital intensive care unit has led to an improvement notice being issued by the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate (HEI).
NHS Dumfries and Galloway has been ordered to improve hygiene and cleaning ‘as a matter of priority’ after inspectors noted ‘poor compliance’ with standard infection control precautions in the intensive care unit at Galloway Royal Infirmary.
The warning comes after inspectors visited the hospital in January and found some patient equipment was not clean. This included dusty ventilators, drip stands and blood pressure monitors as well as dust in patient bed areas, a treatment room and in storage areas.
The inspectors also found poor compliance with standard infection control precautions in ICU, where they noted nursing and medical staff moving from patient bedsides to other areas of the ward without removing their protective equipment.
HEI chief inspector, Susan Brimelow, said: "We have identified a significant number of high priority areas where Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary must make improvements within one month.
"During an inspection on January 15 and 16 we were not satisfied with infection prevention and control practices seen in the intensive care unit.
"In particular, we found the standard of cleaning was poor and patient equipment which was not clean. We escalated our concerns on the day of inspection and revisited the hospital on January 22 to follow these up.
We have identified a significant number of high priority areas where Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary must make improvements within one month
"After revisiting the ICU, overall, we feel assured by the steps being taken by NHS Dumfries & Galloway to resolve these issues."
The inspectors also noted inappropriate storage of equipment in ICU, including open boxes of sterile stock items on the floor of the store room, in the main corridor area and on the worktop of the unit's treatment room.
And they found that cleaning schedules did not accurately reflect the activity or equipment found on the wards and units inspected.
However, they found that in most areas inspected the standard of cleaning was good, staff demonstrated awareness of infection prevention and control policies and procedures, and patients with a known or suspected infection were being cared for appropriately in isolation.
The inspectors issued eight high-priority requirements the trust must address. These include ensuring all staff are aware of the procedure for the management of blood spillages and the cleaning of contaminated patient equipment, and that the ICU is cleaned in line with the requirements of NHS Scotland National Cleaning Services specification.
The health board has also been asked to ensure compliance with the use of colour-coded aprons in ICU to reduce the risk of infection and that all hand hygiene products are suitable and fit for purpose.
Commenting on the results of the inspection, Jeff Ace, chief executive of NHS Dumfries and Galloway, said: "The report does not identify harm to patients and the board has great confidence in the staff and in the standard of care provided in our ICU.
"The report does, however, identify environmental and other latent risks, and we have moved extremely quickly to address these.
"I would like to express my thanks to all of the team who have worked very hard to address the HEI recommendations in such a short space of time."