Hospital cleanliness under spotlight in drive to improve standards


Inspectors are putting Scotland’s hospitals under unprecedented levels of independent scrutiny and helping to drive up standards across the country.

That was the view of Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon as the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate (HEI) published its first annual report.

The report identified that most of the hospitals inspected were generally clean with good infection prevention and control practices in place. The report also notes that standards of cleanliness are improving.

Ms Sturgeon said:

“I set up the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate to put Scotland’s hospitals under the microscope and I’m pleased that the inspectors have left no stone unturned.

“As a result of their efforts, health boards are sitting up and taking notice and making the improvements required. It’s heartening that today’s report reflects that, as a result of the inspections, standards are improving.

“Some of the reports have made uncomfortable reading but that was to be expected. Where hospitals have performed poorly, the inspectorate has ensured that improvements are put in place quickly. In addition, all the report’s recommendations are already being addressed as part of our HAI Taskforce’s programme.

“The challenge for NHS boards and staff now is to ensure that our hospitals are always ready for inspection. As well as planned visits, the HEI has increased the number of unannounced inspections. This isn’t about trying to catch hospitals out – it’s about monitoring what patients see on a day-to-day basis.

“Today’s report clearly shows that standards of cleanliness and infection control in our hospitals are improving. But more can always be done and I am confident the inspection process will continue to drive up standards.”

The Healthcare Environment Inspectorate was set up by the Health Secretary in March 2009 with a remit to undertake a rigorous inspection programme in Scottish hospitals. Operating independently of the Scottish Government and NHS boards, it carries out both planned and unannounced inspections of hospitals.