27 May 2009

New Hygiene Guidelines for Irish Hospitals

Public hospitals and other health facilities in Ireland have one year to comply with a new set of mandatory hygiene standards that were published today. And to begin with, they have now six months to "produce an analysis of how they are currently complying or not complying with the standards".

The Health Information & Quality Authority (HIQA) will conduct both announced and unannounced inspections "to ensure that all hospitals meet the twelve new standards".

They cover areas such as hand hygiene, medical device infections, antibiotic resistance, physical environment and disease control.
In other words, they demand behaviour that most people would regard as common sense.

Jon Billings, the HIQA's 'Director of Healthcare Quality' (now there is some title to behold!) says that "most of the standards are straightforward to implement with changes in culture, behaviour, planning, management and leadership".
Or, as I mentioned already above, by using simple common sense.

The first facilities to be "targeted" for inspections are expected to be Ireland's acute hospitals. But the system will also apply to GP and dental surgeries as well as community care facilities.

The HIQA will then "publish the findings on how the inspected institutions are complying with the new rules".

Well, this is just what we need, isn't it? Another quango full of overpaid bureaucrats, producing big reports that no-one will read or act upon. All financed by you and me - the Irish taxpayers.
And at the same time wards are closed because there are not enough doctors and nurses!

The interesting aspect is that private hospitals are exempt from the HIQA inspections. Another proof for the unfair and unacceptable two-tier system in Ireland's healthcare.

According to the government, "it is expected that private facilities will come under the HIQA inspection system when planned legislation, arising from the Commission on Patient Safety & Quality Assurance (another one of Bertie Ahern's useless quangos) comes into force".

And when that will be is anyone's guess. Given the usually slow speed with which Dáil Éireann progresses in normal legislation, it might not even happen in my lifetime.

The Emerald Islander

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