Opinion Former Article

MRSA Action UK take part in developing the Department of Health's Patient-Led Inspections of the Hospital Environment

The Government is committed to a more central role for patients and the Prime Minister has announced that a new system of Patient-Led Inspections will replace Patient Environment Action Teams from 2013. The results of the new inspections will be reported publicly to help drive up standards of care.

This is an important development that we hope will provide public assurance and protection, to help restore public trust and confidence in the action being taken to prevent and control healthcare associated infections, in what should be a caring environment.

We believe a clean environment is important but should not be looked at in isolation. Staff attitudes and behaviours need to be considered. Targeted cleaning where high impact interventions could make a significant difference to the safety of the patients’ environment should be undertaken. ATP testing using swabs of high touch areas, should be requested, before and after cleaning, you can’t see bacteria or spores that may be harmful for the vulnerable patient.

The halo effect will be present during inspections and as such there should be some consideration given to remote video auditing, you can observe staff behaviour and cameras need not be focused on patients, but you would see evidence of hand hygiene practice and the way staff clean an area, this is very effective and is being used in UK and US hospitals. We are asking for the opportunity to feed into the final guidance that comes from this exercise as this should be about real involvement.

Andrea Jenkyns will be representing MRSA Action UK at the workshop which includes members of the Department of Health’s Patient Environment Team and representatives from the Health and Social Care information Centre.

Derek Butler
MRSA Action UK
Email: derek.butler@mrsaactionuk.net
Telephone: 07762 741114

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