THE HSE has moved to reassure Clare mothers to be that it has improved hygiene standards at the region’s maternity hospital following an unannounced HIQA report last November.

The report, published last week, pointed to areas that could be improved upon in the Mid Western Regional Maternity, Limerick, including the management of waste.

The health care watchdog was also concerned that the level of compliance with hand hygiene practices in the hospital posed a risk to patients.

It added however that, “During the course of the monitoring assessment, the authority did not identify any immediate serious risks to the health and welfare of patients receiving care in the areas assessed at Mid Western Regional Maternity Hospital.”

In a statement, the hospital said it acknowledged significant improvement in the area of hygiene was required and it was fully committed to ensuring that it achieve the necessary improvement.

“Despite much emphasis on hand hygiene in our hospital, we are disappointed that we were observed to have suboptimal levels of hand hygiene compliance on the day in question (November 7).

“Since the audit, much work has been ongoing in this area,” a spokesperson said.

Since the audit, all staff trained in the delivery of hand hygiene training have had refresher and update training and an updated training plan is also in place for 2013.

“This enhanced training will be further strengthened in February when it is planned to ‘blitz’ hand hygiene compliance throughout the hospital,” added the spokesperson.

“A technical assessment of all our clinical handwash sinks is being undertaken with a view to prioritising non-compliant sinks for immediate replacement.” Senior Midwifery Management are also said to be approaching hand hygiene with a new vigour from the perspective of patient advocacy with a hand hygiene culture shift also expected among clinicians at all levels.

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Claire Gallagher is a multi-award winning journalist with more than 15 years experience in media. The Galwegan began her career in radio working in news and current affairs. Having spent a year on the dark side – political PR and Spin – she returned to journalism and has since then worked mainly in print – regional and national – while continuing to work with the broadcast media. She has been with the Clare People since its foundation in 2005. She was awarded “Young Irish Medical Journalist of the Year” in June 2008 while working with the paper. Twitter @galocon Facebook ClaireGallagherClarePeople

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