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Concerns over poor hygiene at hospitals

21 August, 2008 - by Michelle O'Neill

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson, Deputy Chairperson of the Assembly Health Committee Michelle O'Neill MLA, has expressed serious concerns about the evidence of poor hygiene at five hospitals in the North of Ireland.

Poor standards were uncovered during unannounced inspections at Altnagelvin, Causeway, Down, Craigavon and Belfast City hospitals. The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority said its inspectors observed dirty commodes, decrepit buildings and staff not washing their hands.

Ms O'Neill said:

"I am deeply concerned at these findings. It is unacceptable to find such of low level of hygiene within our hospitals given the prevalence of Hospital Acquired Infections and deaths associated with C Diff.

"Poor standard can not be just attributed finance we need to see a new approach to hygiene coming from the Minister of Health Down and from the workforce upwards.

"We need to see real action from the Minister Michael McGimpsey to tackle what is clearly more than just a hygiene or attitude issue. Given number of deaths associated with hospital infections the response from the Minster and the RQIA needs to be decisive.

"Sinn Féin have repeatedly demanded an Inquiry and this evidence of a serious and systemic failure now means that the Minster is fast running out of excuses.

"I will be seeking answers from the Minister regarding the steps that he is taking to ensure that there is no spread of this problem." ENDS

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