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Irish Nurses Organisation Welcomes HIQA National Hygiene Audit. 14/11/07
Findings must be catalyst for change through real action

PRESS RELEASE. Wednesday, 14th November 2007

The Irish Nurses Organisation (INO) welcomes the publication by HIQA, a fully independent authority, of its first national hygiene audit review.

The findings, in relation to 51 public hospitals, confirm the experience of patients and front line staff in relation to the absence of clear direct management of hygiene in public hospitals in recent years.

The INO acknowledges that all staff, including nurses and midwives, have an obligation to ensure individually, and collectively, that all basic hygiene safeguards e.g. hand washing are adhered to and prioritised in their day to day work.  In that regard we note the report’s positive comments in relation to hand washing, positive commitment and attitude, staff adherence to best practice and the management, by staff, of hazardous waste.

The INO views the report’s findings, in relation to the absence of corporate governance as a major deficit at this time, as being further confirmation that clinicians, such as nurses, in management are being marginalised, disempowered and ignored as a direct result of the health reform process.  The reforms have seen general management structures become more cumbersome, multilayered and lacking definition and clarity while, at the same time, seeking to assume control of all clinicians and their areas of expertise.

The INO fully supports the five key recommendations in the HIQA review and calls for the following changes to assist in their implementation:

1. that Directors of Nursing/Midwifery, and their senior nursing/midwifery colleagues, the only management grade to be present on a 24/7 basis in public hospitals, be given overall control of all hygiene issues;

2. that senior nursing/midwifery staff be fully resourced to carry out this function which must include control and direction of all contract cleaning;

3. that the senior nurse, in the infection control department, be graded appropriately and a standing member of the senior management team with the necessary powers to ensure best practice is followed at all times;

4. that clinicians, representing all health professions, be centrally involved in the design, purchase, monitoring and evaluation of all hygiene and infection equipment and/or practices in all areas of the hospital; and

5. that all hospitals introduce, and encourage the use of, a patient feedback system which allows patients bring forward their concerns, experiences and general comments about hygiene and infection standards during their in-patient stay.

Liam Doran, INO General Secretary, speaking this morning said:

This first national review, by the new independent authority HIQA, will hopefully be the first of a series of surveys which critically analyse the performance of the health care system.  The INO calls for the full acceptance of the review’s recommendations and the implementation of the actions, detailed by the INO, immediately.

The INO also calls for the government to give HIQA the statutory powers to inspect private health facilities so that patients and staff, using and working in all health facilities, can be aware of standards and best practice in this critical area.

This report must be a catalyst for change and there should be no more debate, reviews, working groups or studies as clear transparent action is what is now required”.


PR July-Dec2007
Irish Nurses Organisation Welcomes HIQA National Hygiene Audit. 14/11/07
Findings must be catalyst for change through real action
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Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (Cumann Altrai agus Ban Cabhrach na hEireann). The Whitworth Building, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7. T:+353 1 664 0600 E:inmo@inmo.ie