Kent hospital ordered to ‘make significant improvements’ after staff fail to follow Covid-19 hygiene rules

A hospital in Kent has been ordered to ‘make significant improvements’ after staff failed to follow Covid-19 regulations.

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Inspectors found that some staff at the William Harvey Hospital, run by East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, were failing to wash their hands properly after caring for suspected virus patients.

Others seen to wear PPE incorrectly on the Covid-19 ward. Following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) on August 11, the watchdog ordered “urgent enforcement action” by requiring that the emergency department was risk-assessed for social distancing and coronavirus risks.

The CQC also found that staff did not always use alcohol hand gel on entering and leaving wards, and at least seven members of staff were seen entering and leaving a ward caring for patients with suspected Covid-19 without washing their hands properly.

The emergency department staff also did not always have access to hand gel or hand washing facilities, with hand sanitiser dispensers remaining empty at both entrances even after the inspectors had raised the issue.

And inspectors found there was an inconsistent approach to triaging patients with Covid-19 symptoms in the emergency department.

Staff did not always wear PPE correctly in the emergency department, including failing to remove it between clinical areas and patient bays, and they did not always use the correct PPE, the inspectors said.

They also highlighted that cleaning schedules were not kept up to date, meaning they were unsure that the wards had been cleaned properly.

a man holding a sign: Urgent action was ordered by the CQC (AFP via Getty Images)

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Urgent action was ordered by the CQC (AFP via Getty Images)

The inspectors said that not all rooms had signs to indicate how many people were permitted to be in that area while being able to socially distance, although managers told inspectors that every room should have these signs.

Five members of staff were seen in one room which was too small to enable social distancing, the report said.

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The NHS Trust say they taken ‘immediate action’ following the report (PA)

The CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals Professor Ted Baker said the commission has received assurances from the trust that the issues are being addressed.

He added: “We will return to inspect it, to determine whether significant improvements have been made and embedded.”

Dr Sara Mumford, interim director of infection prevention and control at the NHS trust, said “immediate action” was taken following the inspection.

She added: “Since the inspection, we have retrained staff in the correct use of PPE and hand hygiene, put in place additional checks for cleaning, hand hygiene and PPE, reviewed and strengthened our policies and are making physical changes to the hospital to support social distancing.

“Staff have worked incredibly hard throughout the pandemic to care for patients, and their care and safety remains our priority.”

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