A hospital was ordered to take “urgent action” after it was discovered that staff at the ward and emergency room were violating Covid-19 rules.
William Harvey Hospital, operated by East Kent Hospitals University’s NHS Foundation Trust, was inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) on Aug. 11.
The inspectors ordered “urgent enforcement action” by demanding that the emergency room be subject to a risk assessment for social distancing and coronavirus risks.
They found that if a member of the care team was mistakenly wearing a mask even in a ward where the disease had broken out, staff did not always wear personal protective equipment.
They also found that staff did not always use hand sanitizer and at least seven staff entered and left a ward where patients suspected of having Covid-19 were being cared for without washing their hands properly.
Emergency room staff also did not always have access to hand gel or hand washing facilities, and the dispensers were not refilled even after the inspectors were contacted.
Staff in the emergency room did not always wear PPE properly, including failing to remove them between clinical areas and patient shafts and not always using the correct PPE, inspectors said.
The cleaning schedules were reportedly not kept up to date, which meant they weren’t sure if the stations had been cleaned properly.
Inspectors said not all rooms had signs stating how many people were allowed while they could socialize, although managers told inspectors that every room should have these signs.
CQC Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Ted Baker, said: “It is extremely disappointing to note that, despite the warning about their hygiene, not enough work has been done to address infection control issues within the trust. This is especially worrying at a time when infection control could never be more important.
“We had reviewed the work done by the NHS Foundation Trust at East Kent Hospitals University to prevent and control infections and issued them a warning on August 3rd.
“However, the level of concern was so great that we carried out a targeted inspection on August 11th. We have used our enforcement powers by placing conditions on the registry of the trust to keep people safe.
“With our weekly engagement by the trust management, we can be sure that these issues will be addressed. We continue to closely monitor the trust. We will return to review and see if any significant improvements have been made and embedded. “
Dr. Sara Mumford, interim director of infection prevention and control at the NHS Trust, said, “This inspection took place two months ago and we immediately took action to make improvements.
“Since the inspection, we’ve retrained staff in proper PPE and hand hygiene practices, performed additional cleaning, hand hygiene and PPE checks, reviewed and strengthened our policies, and made physical changes to the hospital to support social distancing.
“The staff have worked incredibly hard to care for the patients throughout the pandemic and their care and safety remains our priority.”