Inspectors "impressed" by infection control at hospitals trust following visit sparked by Covid-19 outbreaks

  Posted: 08.04.21 at 08:00 by The Editor

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INSPECTORS who paid an unannounced visit to the hospitals trust that manages Broomfield and St Peter’s found there are “effective processes in place” to keep patients safe from infection.

The focused inspection was carried out on 17 February at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust after there had been more than one outbreak of Covid-19 transmission within the trust’s three main hospitals, which include Basildon, Southend and Broomfield.

The trust also manages community hospitals including St Peter's in Maldon, Braintree Community Hospital. Brentwood Community Hospital and Orsett Community Hospital and was formed in April 2020 when the previous local hospital trusts across mid and south Essex were merged.

An ‘outbreak’ is where there are two or more test-confirmed or clinically suspected cases in a specific setting.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published its report following the targeted inspection of acute services at the trust, looking at infection and prevention control.

Inspectors visited Basildon Hospital, but looked at the processes covering all three main hospitals.

At Basildon, the inspection team visited six acute wards and the emergency department, as well as observing public areas and staff rooms to check social distancing practices were being followed.

Inspectors found that staff at all levels were clear about their roles and accountabilities in relation to infection prevention and control.

As this was a targeted inspection, it did not result in a rating change – therefore, the trust’s overall rating of ‘Requires Improvement’ remains.

CQC’s Head of Hospital Inspection, Philippa Styles, said:

“When inspectors visited Basildon University Hospital, they were impressed by the effective processes in place to support standards of infection prevention and control in order to keep patients safe.

“The trust held daily outbreak meetings with system partners and movement of staff around the hospital was kept to a minimum. Teams worked in one clinical area where possible to reduce infection risk.

“There were visible hand hygiene and face mask stations on all ward entrances and each area was clean and tidy. All wards and department areas were cleaned continuously during the inspection, and ongoing hygiene was monitored by housekeepers and the infection prevention and control team.

“The designation of areas as Covid-19 or non-Covid-19 was also clearly displayed throughout the hospital.”

In the inspection report, the CQC concluded there were just two improvements the trust “should ensure” are made:

• the trust should continue to work on the review of the trust infection prevention and control policies and associated audit programmes to unify these across the three main hospital locations at Broomfield, Basildon and Southend.
• the trust should monitor the use of the Covid-19 regime form to ensure the form is consistently completed across the wards.

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