Hospital pledge over closure threat

IPSWICH Hospital today reassured patients over hygiene after NHS chiefs warned that hospitals failing to shape up on infection control risk being closed as part of a new initiative.

Neil Puffett

IPSWICH Hospital today reassured patients over hygiene after NHS chiefs warned that hospitals failing to shape up on infection control risk being closed as part of a new initiative.

The new inspection regime, being brought in over the next eight months, will see hospital boards asked to sign a declaration in January saying whether or not they meet various government hygiene requirements.

Those failing to meet required standards could be stripped of their licence to treat patients by April - effectively closing the hospital.

The move is intended to put pressure on hospitals failing to observe the hygiene code, introduced in October 2006 amid growing concern about the spread of MRSA, clostridium difficile and other superbugs.

Ipswich Hospital is one of just four trusts since then to be ordered to shape up through an enforcement notice.

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However the hospital insists it is up to scratch in terms of cleanliness.

“The enforcement notice was lifted very soon after it was issued when we had taken the appropriate steps.

“We take these standards extremely seriously,” a spokeswoman for the hospital said.

“Meeting and exceeding these targets is our number one priority.

“People should have confidence in our latest infection control figures which show a very marked improvement but we are never complacent,” she added.

It was back in February that Ipswich Hospital was ordered to improve infection control after breaching hygiene codes.

Following an unannounced visit, the Healthcare Commission deemed decontamination systems designed to tackle infections inadequate.

The commission's concerns centred on four sterilisation systems in the Ear Nose and Throat Department, Oral Surgery, Critical Care Unit and South Theatres.