Galway’s hospitals are being asked to review their procedures for management of blood monitoring equipment following unannounced inspections at the hospitals by the Health Information and Quality Authority.
HIQA, in two reports on the inspections published this week, has raised concerns that poor management of equipment could put patients at risk of contracting hepatitis and other blood-borne pathogens.
The authority raised concerns following the discovery of used lancets for blood sampling which were left in a container used for blood glucose monitoring equipment at Portiuncula Hospital, as well as blood stained sticky tape on a window sill in one of the wards.
The inspection at UHG also found glucose monitoring equipment to be stained, prompting a similar warning to revise procedures.
“The use of finger stick devices and blood monitoring equipment such as those used in the monitoring of blood sugars have been linked to outbreaks of hepatitis B and hepatitis C in healthcare settings,” HIQA stated.
The inspection at University Hospital Galway also prompted the authority to raise concerns that a patient who was accommodated on a trolley in a ward at UHG was “not managed in a way that protected their privacy and dignity”. The patient was one of eight accommodated in trolleys in the hospital on the day of the inspection, and the trolley was found to be hindering access to toilet and shower facilities in the ward, as well as potentially obstructing the movement of other patients to and from theatre.
Inspectors also found various stains, rust, and chipped paint at both University Hospital Galway and Merlin Park Hospital, as well as heavy dust and grease on the bases of beds in a ward at Merlin Park; it deemed both facilities to be “generally clean with some exceptions”.
Some blood glucose monitoring equipment was found to be unclean during the inspections, while single use nebulisers were being reused in one ward, prompting HIQA to review this practice to ensure patients are not put at risk of legionellosis.
Galway University Hospitals has stated that it took immediate action to address the issues raised by HIQA.
“We received a draft of the report on June 9 and immediately took action to address the deficiencies highlighted in relation to cleaning and minor maintenance works,” said Ann Cosgrove, GUH general manager. “We are working on a quality improvement plan to address the other deficiencies with a particular emphasis on improvements in the monitoring and management of patient equipment [blood sugar monitoring equipment/glucometers] and compliance with hospital policies in relation to the management of nebuliser equipment.
“We are currently in a tender process for a new cleaning contract and the remit of the new contract has been extended to include some patient equipment which will address the deficiencies identified in relation to patient equipment cleaning records.