Food hygiene and safety at Eastbourne private hospital criticised by health inspectors

The Esperance Hospital Eastbourne. March 2nd 2012 E10024N ENGSUS00120120203130201
The Esperance Hospital Eastbourne. March 2nd 2012 E10024N ENGSUS00120120203130201

A private hospital in Eastbourne has been told it must take ‘urgent action’ to comply with food safety and hygiene legislation.

BMI The Esperance Hospital, run by BMI Healthcare Ltd, in Hartington Place, Eastbourne, was inspected by the Care Quality Commission on June 23, following concerns raised relating to infection control and cleanliness.

In a report published today (August 6), Professor Sir Mike Richards, chief inspector of hospitals, said: “We found some areas of poor practice where the provider needs to make improvements.

“Patients do not always receive care from people who have the skills and knowledge that is required for them to do their job.”

Professor Richards said there were six areas where the hospital must take action to improve.

These include: taking urgent action to ensure water safety monitoring is carried out in line with national guidance, ensuring the require planned preventative measures in relation to air handling in theatres are performed, ensuring staff involved in the preparation and service of food receive appropriate training and ensuring food safety and hygiene legislation is complied with.

The chief inspector also said the hospital must make sure endoscope decontamination processes meet national guidance and assess its flooring materials to ensure they are ‘appropriate for a clinical environment’ – as carpets were used in clinical areas.

Inspectors discovered some food was past the best before date, there were rotting bananas, wine with no cover and food stored on the floor.

They also said they could not be sure that the fridge thermometer was in ‘full working order’. A prawn jacket potato was also found the in fridge which was unlabelled and undated and was unsafe to eat.

Inspectors found the operating theatre environment was observed to be in a poor state of repair with debris on the floor and exposed wood surfaces instead of laminate which is easy to clean.

Professor Richards said: “Systems for monitoring the maintenance of equipment in theatres were not sufficiently robust. Essential monitoring of water and air handling systems had not been performed consistently for six weeks. However, in other aspects we found that there were systems and measures to prevent the spread of infection and that these were closely monitored with good compliance demonstrable through a programme of audit.”

The report states that the management of theatre storage areas was ‘unsatisfactory’ with inspectors finding fluids and pharmacy products were stored alongside sterile consumable items.

There were also cardboard boxes containing sterile consumables on the floor in all three general stores, which inspectors said meant there was a ‘risk of contamination’.

The hospital was inspected for safety, effectiveness, responsiveness and leadership.

Under the leadership section, the report states: “In general, the hospital had the processes and information to manage current and future performance and risk in relation to the environment, complaints infection prevention and control. “However, there had been some instances where the management team has been unaware of some significant safety issues.”

Care at the hospital was not assessed by the CQC.

The report states: “Complaints were generally handled appropriately to the satisfaction of those who raised concerns. Generally, here were systems to manage the prevention and control of infection that followed national guidelines.”

Inspectors found patient care and treatment in relation to infection prevention and control was planned and delivered in line with current national guidance.

Sue Mulvey, executive director of The Esperance Hospital, said, “We were pleased to see the positive elements in the report, especially around infection control.

“However action to address the majority of the issues identified in the report is in progress, and in particular our catering contractor has re-trained all of their staff and is making all other changes necessary to ensure that appropriate standards are being met.

“We look forward to the CQC reassessing our provision soon to see the progress made.”

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