Standards of cleanliness in hospitals are improving and helping in the battle against healthcare associated infections, according Scotland’s top hospital inspector.
A report by the Chief Inspector of the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate (HEI) found that the number of requirements and recommendations issued to health boards as a result of inspections reduced significantly last year.
From October 2011 to September 2012, the HEI made 110 requirements and 81 recommendations, compared to 172 requirements and 180 recommendations in the first report in 2009-2010.
Rates of C. diff in patients aged 65 and over reduced by 37 per cent, and the number of cases of MRSA fell by 35 per cent in the same time period.
To coincide with the publication of the report, Health Secretary Alex Neil officially opened the Royal Victoria Building in Edinburgh.
The new building is 100 per cent single rooms, which reduces the risk of healthcare associated infections.
Mr Neil said:
“It is vital that the public have absolute confidence in the care they will receive if they need hospital treatment and this report shows exactly why we set up this inspection regime.
“I am determined to achieve improved performance right across the NHS in Scotland on healthcare associated infections, and to ensure that patients and the public can have complete confidence in the cleanliness of hospitals and the quality and safety of services.
“I am encouraged to see notable improvements in hospitals, but we are not complacent and I recognise there are still a number of areas where further improvement is needed.
“All NHS Boards have been left in no doubt that they must act now to tackle any issues raised in these inspection reports as a matter of urgency.
“This report reassures me that the inspections are helping to improve the hospital care environment for people across Scotland.”
The report highlighted improvements in cleaning in hospitals, fewer maintenance and repair issues, better awareness and access to training in infection control for all staff.
It also highlighted some areas for improvement, with more attention to cleaning of hard-to-reach areas and patient equipment needed in some areas, and some issues with communication between infection control staff and ward staff highlighted.
The £43.6 million Royal Victoria Building, on the Western General Hospital site, comprises of 147 private rooms, each with its own en-suite shower and toilet facilities.