Press Release

Tanaiste welcomes major improvement in hospital hygiene

The Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney T.D., today welcomed the results of the second national hygiene audit of Irish hospitals.

The Tánaiste said “Improving hygiene in hospitals was one of the key objectives I set in the A&E Ten Point Plan.

This audit now shows a significant improvement in the hygiene standards in our hospitals. The majority of hospitals have shown that they have improved their performance.

There is great credit due to hospital management and staff who have worked so diligently to improve the standards that our patients rightly expect.

In short, hospital staff themselves are achieving cleaner hospitals.

In one case an individual hospital recorded an improvement of 30%.

The evidence points to a much more pro-active approach by hospitals towards hygiene issues. This has led to a more pleasant environment, but critically also to a safer environment.

This is all about improving patient health and safety. Sick people deserve clean hospitals. And hospital staff themselves deserve to work in an environment where the risks of infection are minimised.

The first national audit rightly brought attention to an insufficient focus on hygiene and posed a challenge to the 91% of hospitals who fell below the acceptable standard.

I am pleased to say that most hospitals and their staff have risen to this challenge.

Today’s results show that good hospital management and clinical leadership are critical to achieving good results in hygiene as in all services.

I have no doubt that we can make even greater progress. I hope that all hospitals will do their utmost now to achieve or maintain the objective of reaching the standard of 85%+ at the next unannounced hospital audit.

As in the first report, this report also sets out clear recommendations at both hospital and national level for management and staff on how to achieve top class hygiene standards.

We have seen from the recent improvement that this is a matter of focus. It is not fundamentally a matter of significant resources at this stage.

It is achievable in all hospitals, regardless of size, age or location. The audit process will continue. I am confident that hospitals who have achieved high standards will work hard to maintain these standards. Hospitals performing poorly must redouble their efforts before the next audit.

I congratulate the HSE for the overseeing this important work and I thank the consultants for the rigour and thoroughness they have brought to it again.”