HSE Move to Allay Concerns Raised by HIQA Report Critical of Midleton Hospital

by SEAMUS WHELEHAN

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The HSE have moved to allay concerns raised by the latest HIQA report into the workings of Midleton Community hospital. The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQUA) has been highly critical of patient accommodation at the former 19 century Workhouse.
A 35-page report published by the Authority last Thursday (28 March) found that privacy and dignity of patients was compromised by the design and layout of the facility. The report identified a requirement for improvements in management and staffing levels. It also found the Health Services Executive (HSE) had failed in fire-safety, infection control, providing a safe and suitable premises, and numerous issues of regulatory non-compliance. Inspectors found that oxygen cylinders were not secured on suitable stands, and were stored with combustible paper files. The Inspection of the service was carried out last October by four Inspectors from the Health Authority, over a two day period.
Cork Kerry Community Health Care say significant changes have been made since the Health Watch Dogs visit last year, with further improvements planned. They say the development of a 50-bed Community Hospital on the same site, which is at an advanced stage, will resolve the issues raised in last week’s report.
In the interim, they say they are upgrading the existing building so that residents can have the best experience possible.
Following the HIQA review the hospital’s 8 bed Respite Unit was closed over fire and safety concerns.

They found the internal doors were too narrow at the former 19 Century Workhouse which caters for 52 elderly.
The Short Stay Ward was required to widen the entrance door to the Respite Unit for clients with walking aids and the wheelchair bound.
The HSE say a building project at St Mary’s Ward, which has been underway for a number of weeks, is nearly completed.
When the Unit reopens shortly it will not be as a large ward, but as two smaller rooms. This means that the residents in these rooms can have improved privacy and dignity.
The work, they say, will also address fire safety issues raised in this report by HIQA.
Other improvements to the building are being planned in the months ahead, to improve the surroundings for residents.
A new large living space will be created close to the front door on the ground floor, which is currently a kitchen.
Layout changes in other parts of the building will see the creation of three new living, dining and sitting spaces for residents and their visitors.
HIQA Inspectors had also found that local governance and management arrangements were temporary in nature.
As a result, Managers based locally in the Centre were not empowered with the necessary authority to effect the substantive culture changes required to bring the Centre into compliance particularly in relation to residents’ rights to privacy and dignity, and in taking action to address known risks’.
Gaps in record management were also noted with evidence that staff records were not complete.
Documentation in relation to evidence of Garda Vetting clearance was not available on site for all staff.
Adequate records of recent fire drills, and the outcome of the drills, were not available on the day of inspection.
Risk management processes were not effectively implemented, particularly in relation to fire-safety in St Mary’s Ward.
The lengthy report found the Acting Nurse Manager to be highly experienced and dedicated to providing person centred care to residents.
The HSE say in relation to governance arrangements, interviews have taken place for the position mentioned in the report. In addition, the General Manger with responsibility for the Community Hospital makes very regular visits.
Garda vetting was in place for all staff, and the storage of these files has been addressed.
A Quality and Patient Safety Committee has been established at the Centre, and an action plan is in place.
The issue raised in relation to oxygen storage has been addressed.

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