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More bugs found in Worcester hospital's endoscopy unit

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More bacteria has been discovered in the endoscopy unit of a Worcestershire hospital, with an “unsafe” layout and equipment “overdue for replacement”.

The bacteria was found at Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, run by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust. The trust said no patients were infected.

“We have processes in place to regularly check for bacteria in endoscope rinse water”

Lisa Miruszenko

It is not the first time bacteria has been discovered in the hospital’s endoscopy unit. It was reported in the autumn that bacterial growth was detected in the unit’s decontamination facilities in March 2015, and coincided with “two probable cross-infection incidents” in which 11 patients were infected.

In an internal report at the time, the trust said the unit’s machines for decontaminating endoscopes had “been in situ for over eight years and are overdue for replacement”. The layout of the unit was described as “outdated”, “unsafe” and “unacceptable”.

In October, the trust told Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal that procurement for three new decontamination machines would be “complete imminently”, but the machines have still not been replaced.

In the latest incident, a sample grown from rinse water during routine monitoring tested positive for bacteria on 4 February.

The trust said one list of 10 patients due to have endoscopy procedures was affected by the discovery, with patients offered a transfer to Kidderminster Hospital to receive the procedure on the same day or to have it rescheduled.

Six patients chose to attend Kidderminster and four opted to switch to another day.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust

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Alexandra Hospital in Redditch

The trust said equipment was removed for repeat cleaning and by 8 February results were reported clear.

Lisa Miruszenko, the trust’s deputy chief nursing officer, said patient safety was the trust’s “top priority”.

She said: “In line with national recommendations, we have processes in place to regularly check for bacteria in endoscope rinse water. Should any bacteria be detected, all equipment is taken out of service and cleaned in line with national guidance.

“As the trust has more than one endoscopy unit, no patients need suffer any delay in receiving their endoscopy should any equipment need to be taken out of use,” said Ms Miruszenko.

“Over the coming year a plan is in place to expand our endoscopy unit and this will include replacing the current machinery,” she said.

“There is no evidence that patients have acquired an infection from any endoscopy equipment at the trust,” she added.

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