Hospital breached hygiene codes

IPSWICH Hospital has been ordered to improve infection control after breaching hygiene codes, it emerged today.The Heath Road hospital was handed a formal notice to improve by the Healthcare Commission following an unannounced visit earlier this month where decontamination systems designed to tackle infections were deemed inadequate.

IPSWICH Hospital has been ordered to improve infection control after breaching hygiene codes, it emerged today.

The Heath Road hospital was handed a formal notice to improve by the Healthcare Commission following an unannounced visit earlier this month where decontamination systems designed to tackle infections were deemed inadequate.

It is only the third time the commission has issued one of the notices to a hospital since they were introduced in October 2006 to improve standards.

The commission's concerns centred on four sterilisation systems in the Ear Nose and Throat Department, Oral Surgery, Critical Care Unit and South Theatres which were used to sterilise equipment after it had been hand-washed, contrary to guidelines which require automated washing.

Peter Donaldson, medical director at Ipswich Hospital, said: "We have removed all four sterilisation systems from the departments and they will not be used again.

“No problems have ever been identified to us because of the systems but we understand the importance of making sure that we adhere to the highest standards of infection control.

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"I hope that this will not give rise to any anxiety but we appreciate that our community may have concerns and I would like to take this opportunity to reassure them.”

Sandra Chittenden, head of the central region for the Healthcare Commission, said: “In the case of Ipswich Hospital we felt it was necessary to exercise our powers to issue an improvement notice, on behalf of patients.

“I'm pleased that the trust responded so quickly to implement our recommendations.”

The commission will now visit the trust in the coming months to check standards before making a decision to lift the improvement notice.

Anyone with concerns following the announcement that Ipswich Hospital has received a notice to improve can call the hospital on 01473 703246.

Does more need to be done to improve infection control at Ipswich Hospital? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.