Health Secretary disappointed with hospital report


Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has expressed her disappointment after an inspectors report called for a number of improvements to infection control practices at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.

The Healthcare Environment Inspectorate’s report, published today, highlights a need for a better system of cleaning patient equipment and calls for robust and proactive efforts to minimise the risk of infection spreading.

While the inspectors did find areas of good practice in the hospital, including the establishment of a directorate of infection control and management to take responsibility for complying with healthcare associated infection standards, they also said that there was a lack of clear leadership within the directorate and poor hygiene compliance among some staff.

Among the report’s findings were:

  • A lack of use of personal protective equipment, including gloves and aprons when changing bed linen
  • Poor hand hygiene compliance and lack of provision of alcohol hand gel in two wards
  • Poor linen handling and disposal, including overflowing linen bags

Ms Sturgeon said:

“This report is clearly disappointing and I expect NHS Tayside to implement an improvement plan as a matter of urgency. I have asked officials to provide the necessary support to put in place a robust infection control policy.

“Tackling healthcare acquired infection is my top priority and I want to patients to be confident that they are getting the highest standards from our health service.

“I expect NHS Tayside to work quickly to address all the issues raised and look forward to seeing further inspection reports to chart their progress.”

The Healthcare Environment Inspectorate operates independently of the Scottish Government and the NHS boards it inspects. It carries out both planned and unannounced inspections of hospitals. For administrative purposes, it is based within NHS Quality Improvement Scotland.

The unannounced inspections at Ninewells Hospital took place on 16 and 17 November.