HIQA report published following Portiuncula Hospital inspection

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galway daily news

HIQA has published a report following an inspection of the Emergency Department, St Joseph’s ward and St Francis’s ward at Portiuncula University Hospital on 9 and 10 May this year.

Of HIQA’s 14 National Standards for Safer Better Healthcare, the hospital was found to be ‘compliant’ with one standard, ‘non-compliant’ with one, ‘substantially compliant’ with eight, and ‘partially compliant’ with four. 

The hospital was compliant with Standard 1.7, focusing on service providers promoting a culture of kindness, consideration and respect.

Throughout the inspection, staff were observed to be actively listening and effectively communicating with patients in an open and sensitive manner, in line with their expressed needs and preferences.

This was validated by patients who spoke with inspectors, with staff being described as ‘very nice’, and ‘excellent and friendly’.

The hospital was found to be non-compliant with Standard 2.7: Healthcare is provided in a physical environment which supports the delivery of high quality, safe, reliable care and protects the health and welfare of service users.

The HIQA report notes that at the time of inspection PUH was challenged by outdated infrastructure, with a distinct lack of single rooms and en-suite facilities in the hospital.

While PUH said this is ‘deeply regrettable’, it said that significant progress has been made in this area since the inspection took place.

In September 2023 the Dunlo Ward opened at PUH – a 12 bed ward with eight single en-suite rooms and two double en-suite rooms, and a 50 bed replacement ward block is expected to be completed in August 2024.

The new unit will provide single room accommodation with en-suites and will have two compliant negative pressure rooms on each floor, which has been raised by HIQA as a risk.

Emergency Department

PUH welcomed the report’s finding that staff working in the Emergency Department were committed and dedicated to promoting a person-centred approach to care.

Staff working in the ED were observed providing assistance and information to patients in a respectful and dignified manner, consistent with the results of the 2022 National Inpatient Experience Survey in which PUH scored higher than the national average.

Work Force Planning

Concerns about staffing levels in the ED were also raised within the HIQA report, which PUH says is being addressed. 

A submission has been approved at Group level for a Consultant in Emergency medicine and the application process is in progress. 

On the day of inspection there were five nursing vacancies, and the hospital is engaged in an ongoing recruitment campaign to fill all vacant nursing posts in the Emergency Department and across the hospital.

The hospital has also been approved to hire a Clinical Pharmacist to provide services to Dunlo Ward and the ED.

You can read the full HIQA report here.