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Hospital ordered to close decontamination facility

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The Healthcare Commission has called for a mattress decontamination facility at a hospital trust in Surrey to close immediately because of infection control fears.

Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Trust must find alternative facilities immediately after inspectors found soiled and clean mattresses stored next to each other and no facilities to dispose of dirty water.

Inspectors visited in June and found the facility at Ashford Hospital to be in breach of the commission's hygiene code.

Under the terms of the improvement notice, the trust must resolve the issues within a month.

Christine Braithwaite, healthcare-associated infection lead, at the Commission, said: ‘Proper decontamination of mattresses and equipment at Ashford Hospital is vital to stop infections from spreading. This is very important on behalf of patients.

‘We know that the trust has started to act on the improvement notice. We will be visiting the trust again and we will expect to see full compliance with the code.'

If the hospital fails to comply the commission can refer the matter to the secretary of state and ask for special measures, such as a new management team.

A trust spokesperson said: ‘We have already taken action to start to resolve these issues including the immediate closure on the evening of 13th June of the small decontamination room.

‘The small mattress decontamination room at Ashford Hospital, mentioned in the improvement notice, was used to hand clean two or three special pressure relieving ‘air’ mattresses per week.

‘Due to the nature of services at Ashford Hospital the turnover on these special pressure relieving ‘air’ mattresses is small and does not impact on the delivery of clinical services.’

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