Inspection at UHG raises concerns about ongoing superbug problem

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A report published this week by the Heath Information and Quality Authority raised concerns about an ongoing outbreak of a superbug at UHG.

The report published this week contains the findings of an unannounced inspection at University Hospital Galway carried out in May by HIQA.

The report found that despite taking great steps to tackle the problem of the dangerous superbug known as CPE, a number of factors were contributing to its continued presence at the hospital.

CPE is an extremely dangerous, antibiotic resistant bacterial infection that’s been a problem at numerous Irish hospitals.

UHG has been dealing with an outbreak of the superbug since June of last year, though the number of infections has been dropping.

17 cases of infection were recorded in the last four months of 2017, while up to the time of the inspection on May 10 this year, there were only 10 recorded cases.

Overall UHG was found to have good practices and clear accountability with a specialist infection prevention and control team reporting to hospital management.

However the inspection found several areas where the hospital could improve on its practices to reduce infection rates.

The largest area of concern raised in the report was a lack of single rooms with ensuite toilets.

In one room it was found that 14 patients were sharing a single toilet, adding to the risk of spreading an infection.

Due to staffing issues there was also a problem with equipment that’s shared between patients being cleaned properly.

Staff at Galway Hospitals were found to be fully compliant with national guidelines for screening for superbugs, processing over 3,700 patient screens in the first quarter of 2018.

The inspection also found that hospital staff generally took excellent care in monitoring invasive devices and surgical sites that were vulnerable to infection, achieving a 10% drop in blood stream infections from 2016.

It was pointed out that no monitoring of catheter or ventilator associated infection rates was in place at the time of the inspection, but Saolta said plans were already in place to address this.

Saolta welcomed the findings of the report and the acknowledgement of its good governance, and added that steps are being taken to address areas of concern that were highlighted in the hospital.