Press Release

Statement by An Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney TD, on publication of the First National Acute Hospitals Hygiene Audit Report

The Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children , Mary Harney TD, today (Thursday) welcomed the publication of the first-ever National Acute Hospitals Hygiene Audit undertaken on behalf of the National Hospitals Office of the Health Service Executive.


Speaking at the launch of the audit, the Tánaiste said: “Clean hospitals are essential for public confidence and for infection control. Patients deserve no less than top class cleanliness in every area of each hospital.”


“The public and patients must have full confidence in the hygiene standards of our hospitals and in order to ensure this, action to improve cleanliness in hospitals was a key part of the ten point plan for Accident and Emergency which I set out last year. I am very pleased that the National Hospitals Office of the HSE immediately took up the task of establishing an objective basis for action, for all areas of hospitals as well as A&E.”


“This clear, concise and comprehensive report shows, hospital by hospital, where standards are being met and where they are not, where the job is to keep up the good work, and where performance has to improve.”


“You can only manage what you measure. Today we have very stark evidence-based results that show that 91% of our hospitals fall below acceptable hygiene standards. For a long time, we have only had anecdotal information about hospital cleanliness. Now the task is to manage up standards consistently across the country.”


“There are many practical recommendations in this report on how to achieve the top class hygiene standards. Resources will not be an issue in achieving the standards we expect. I am confident the HSE will have sufficient resources to make the required investments, in equipment and training for example.”


“As with the whole health sector, it is vital that new investment is accompanied by reform and better management and work practices where they are clearly identified as needed.”


“I assure hospital management and staff that they will have my full support in all the work needed to achieve excellence in hospital cleanliness. Their work and their results will be valued and recognised, not least by patients themselves.”


“This work by the HSE is another demonstration of why it was right to set up a single national health executive to replace the health boards. This time last year, enormous doubts were cast by some people on the whole idea. We were urged to delay implementation.”


“Now we see the importance of consistent national standards led by a single Health Service Executive. It’s a matter of fairness to patients in each region of the country that they should each benefit from the highest national standards.”


“In hospital cleanliness as in other vital areas of health services, we need the highest standards to be monitored and enforced consistently at national level, while managed locally with clear lines of accountability.”


“I am pleased that the HSE will continue with open, public reporting of further audits of hospital cleanliness.”


“This is a very important milestone in the management of hospitals nationally. We are now on the way to lifting standards of cleanliness permanently in our hospitals.”