Sick Kids hospital criticised for dirty equipment

Sick Kids has been told to clean up. Picture: Cate Gillon
Sick Kids has been told to clean up. Picture: Cate Gillon
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EDINBURGH’S Sick Kids hospital has been ordered to improve cleaning standards after inspectors found dirty equipment and blood on wards.

Although an inspection found cleanliness was generally satisfactory, it identified a number of pieces of equipment contaminated with blood and dust.

At the hospital’s critical care unit they found dusty equipment, as well as blood on a tray used to dispose of sharp objects and on the wall.

They also found a fan “covered with an unknown spillage”.

Dust was found on a resuscitation trolley in the neonatal ward and blood on monitoring equipment.

On another ward, the inspectors reported contamination in the toilets, as well as a stained mattress and treatment trolley.

The Healthcare Environment Inspectorate has now told the hospital to make urgent improvements to cleaning routines. It also issued a requirement that NHS Lothian make sure staff understand and implement checks around beds on a daily basis.

The inspectors also issued another requirement over concerns about the disposal of water from baby baths and other large amounts of water in sinks where people wash their hands.

Guidance says large quantities of water should be discarded in a sluice or sink not used for handwashing.

But this was not always possible at the Sick Kids due to factors such as the design of the building.

Nurses in one ward said water from baby baths, bed baths and nappy changes was put down the hand basin in the patient’s room as there were no alternative facilities. Elsewhere in the hospital, facilities were available to dispose of water in a sluice.

The inspectors said: “NHS Lothian must undertake a risk assessment if it is not possible to comply with the instruction to dispose of larger volumes of water in a sluice or a sink which is not a hand wash station.”

Susan Brimelow, HEI’s chief inspector, said: “Overall, we found evidence that NHS Lothian is complying with most standards to protect children, staff and visitors from the risk of acquiring an infection.

“However, we also identified a number of areas for improvement, including that NHS Lothian must ensure that all patient equipment is clean and ready to use.

“We expect NHS Lothian to address these issues as a matter of priority.”