Saturday, 25 July 2009

King's College Hospital failing to protect against MRSA

Camberwell's KCH, one of London's biggest hospitals, is found to be in breach of Government regulations protecting against superbugs and is criticised by inspectors from the Care Quality Commission.

ONE of London’s biggest hospitals has been placed under close scrutiny after inspectors discovered soiled mattresses, dirty commodes, mouldy cupboards and other failures to protect against superbugs.

On two surprise visits earlier this year, King's College Hospital in south London was found to be in breach of Government regulations to protect patients, workers and others against deadly infections such as antibiotic-resistant MRSA and Clostridium difficile.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission released a damning report which reveals basic hygiene practices were not being followed. They wrote: “None of the staff interviewed in the four wards inspected had been trained on how to clean and check mattresses or commodes. We found some commodes soiled with body fluids and soiled mattresses. We found other dirty equipment used for patients’ care in storerooms that we were told had been cleaned.”

The report also criticises dusty and cluttered store cupboards, bathrooms with peeling paint, dirty taps, overflows and shower seats, and storage units with mould on the wall. Bed areas that should have been cleaned still had items left by previous patients in lockers and bedside tables.

Derek Butler, chair of campaigning group MRSA Action UK said: “This is dreadful. There is no excuse for hospitals not to be clean. It’s not rocket science. It’s about the simplest things. Mattresses should not be stained at all. This is a breach of the law, and if King's College Hospital consistently breaks the rules then I would like to see the management removed.”

Although it has powers to prosecute or fine the hospital, the CQC has put it under “close scrutiny” and will inspect it regularly.

The 950-bed hospital, which serves 700,000 people in Lambeth and Southwark, broke six measures in new regulations to reduce healthcare-associated infection, which it has had to comply with since 1 April this year.

Great Ormond Street, University College and Chelsea & Westminster hospitals were also inspected with no breaches. Ealing Hospital was in breach of one regulation because of stained mattresses.

King's College Hospital has submitted an action plan to the CQC. Its chief executive, Tim Smart, said: “We support the CQC inspection process, and we are using it as a means of focusing the organisation on delivering ever better quality of care. Our patients deserve the best care in a safe and clean environment, and all our staff are committed to taking hygiene and infection control very seriously.”

In 2006 the trust paid £45,000 to the family of Grace Nwamala Nkemdilim, 31, who died at King's College Hospital after contracting MRSA in 2001. It has recently cut levels of MRSA infections, which remain just above average, and C diff infections, which are below average.
Source: The London Paper

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