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Healthcare Commission announces improvement notice


5 January, 2009  

The Healthcare Commission have issued an improvement notice to Homerton University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, requiring urgent attention to its infection control systems.

While the trust’s rates of MRSA bloodstream infection and Clostridium difficile have generally been low, the Commission found significant breaches of the hygiene code during an unannounced inspection.

Marcia Fry, head of operational development at the Commission said “This trust has a strong record regarding rates of MRSA and Clostridium difficile, and we acknowledge their performance in this area.

“However, at an unannounced inspection at Homerton University Hospital we identified breaches of the government’s hygiene code that gave us cause for concern. These included arrangements for the decontamination of equipment, concern about adequacy of mandatory staff training, and lack of follow up to internal audits. There were also issues about reporting of information to the board to enable them to assure themselves that systems for preventing infection are in place and working in practice.

“All trusts must drive rates of infection as low as they possibly can and to do this they must have all the necessary systems in place to deal with infection prevention and control. This is extremely important for patients. Relatively low infection rates are not enough. Systems need to be in place to keep infection to a minimum.”

The government developed the hygiene code to help trusts ensure that patients are cared for in a clean environment where the risk of infection is kept as low as possible. It sets out the systems, policies and procedures related to infection prevention and control that NHS organisations in England should have.

Healthcare Commission