HSE welcomes HIQA Report on overview of unannounced infection prevention and control inspections 2015

The HSE has today, Thursday 31st March 2016, welcomed the publication of HIQA’s Report ‘Overview of HIQA unannounced infection prevention and control inspections 2015’. The HSE remains fully committed to ensuring that national standards for Healthcare Associated Infections (HCAI) and Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) are implemented and that hospitals are in full compliance. The report provides a much welcome focus on key aspects of infection prevention and control and addresses wider aspects of practice including the use of care bundles.  

Significant progress has been made over recent years. Compliance with HSE Hand Hygiene targets has progressively improved with an average hand hygiene compliance rate of 89.2% achieved by hospitals in 2015. The national target remains 90%. HIQA also noted that hospitals were committed to achieving and embedding good hand hygiene practices at all levels within their organisation.

All hospitals inspected throughout 2015 have already received copies of their individual reports and have agreed plans with HIQA to address any areas requiring greater effort and attention. The HSE acknowledge that significant improvement is required in some areas and is committed to ensuring that the necessary improvement plans are implemented.  The relevant hospitals continue to work on these improvement areas with the support of their respective Hospital Groups. 

Key priorities identified for 2016 and contained in the HSE National Service Plan include reviewing the organisational approach to HCAI and Antimicrobial Resistance to ensure that every healthcare worker across the healthcare system recognises that infection prevention is a key element of all aspects of clinical work.

The HSE has established a National Taskforce to direct and coordinate an effective system-wide response to the issue of HCAI/AMR.  This is a multi-disciplinary high-level group that will oversee and ensure the following aims are achieved:

  • Ensure rational antimicrobial use across all healthcare settings
  • Effective diagnostic support for infection.
  • Reduce incidence of Multi Drug Resistant Organisms (MDROs)
  • Decrease incidence of Healthcare Associated Infections (HCAIs)
  • Improve professional education, training and public engagement to promote wider understanding of the need for appropriate use of antibiotics
  • Compliance with HIQA Standards for Prevention of HCAI across all healthcare settings

Ensuring medicines are managed safely and securely throughout our hospitals is a key patient safety objective. This includes handling of all IV preparations (preparation, labelling and storage). Quality Improvement Programmes are in place for the relevant hospitals to ensure that these practices highlighted in the reports are addressed.

The report also notes that new buildings, refurbishments and upgrade programmes in the planning stages, or commenced during 2015, will address some of the infrastructural and environmental deficiencies identified and assist in meeting compliance requirements. The HSE acknowledge that ongoing targeted investment is required to address deficiencies in hospital infrastructure  and is committed to supporting  refurbishment programmes in our hospitals within allocated resources. In order to address high risk areas, Hospital Groups are required to quantify the cost of required improvements over the next five years.

Last updated on: 31 / 03 / 2016