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Hygiene alert as just one in ten NHS hospitals meet Healthcare Commission standards

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Just 10% of NHS hospital trusts are fully compliant with the Healthcare Commission’s hygiene code designed to fight infections such as MRSA and C diff, inspectors have found.

Random spot checks of 51 trusts over the last year revealed only five trusts were conforming to all infection control standards required by the commission.

Although nearly all (97%) of lapses did not present an immediate risk to patients, almost all trusts have work to do to ensure full compliance.

Hospital alert

Improvement notices were served to Bromley Hospitals NHS Trust, for physical environment and decontamination breaches, and Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust and Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Trust for decontamination failings.

Findings showed that 27 of the trusts were failing to keep all areas of the premises clean, one in five did not meet requirements for decontamination of instruments and one in eight did not have adequate isolation facilities.

The five trusts complying with all duties were Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospitals NHS Trust, Kingston Hospital NHS Trust, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust and St Helen’s and Knowsley Hospitals NHS Trust.

Healthcare Commission reaction

Anna Walker, chief executive of the Healthcare Commission, said: ‘Now the challenge for trusts is to ensure they drive further sustained improvements by getting the right systems in place all of the time.

‘At nearly all trusts we have found gaps that need closing. It is important to be clear that at these trusts we are not talking about the most serious kind of breaches.’

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