An inspection of a hospital neurology department found it difficult to clean effectively because of the poor state of the building.
Healthcare inspectors recorded mould on shower trays, plug holes and shower curtains, dust and grime on floors and “significant” dust on movable patient equipment at the Institute of Neurological Sciences at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow.
They also noted “multiple” issues with the building – where CT and MRI scans are conducted – such as water ingress on ceiling tiles, extensive damage to walls and shower trays and broken PVC sealant on showers, sinks and toilets.
Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) inspectors made an unannounced visit to QEUH, the Institute of Neurological Sciences and the Royal Hospital for Children in November following an earlier inspection in January last year.
Their inspection included child cancer ward 6A, which was closed to new admissions last August after three patients contracted infections – before reopening in November – while inspectors also examined the maternity unit.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) has been under pressure after an infections scandal at the flagship £800 million QEUH hospital campus, which opened in 2015.
In the report published on Thursday, inspectors said the standard of environmental cleaning has improved in the emergency department and initial assessment unit since their visit in January 2019 and also found good staff compliance with standard infection control precautions.
But it raised concerns about the Institute of Neurological Sciences, which is an older building on the campus.
Ian Smith, head of quality of care at Healthcare Improvement Scotland, said: “Since our previous inspection in January 2019, good progress has been made to meet the requirements in our report.
“The standard of cleaning has improved in the emergency department and initial assessment unit at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.
“We also saw good staff compliance with standard infection control precautions, including the Royal Hospital for Children.”
He added: “Within the Institute of Neurosciences, some significant repairs had taken place since our last inspection.
“However, the fabric of the building remains in a poor state, making it difficult to effectively clean.
“In addition to actions taken at the time of our visit, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has developed an improvement action plan to address our requirements following this inspection of the Institute of Neurosciences.”
Inspectors also praised the fact that since their last visit domestic staff have been recruited to ensure flexible cover.
The health board said as well as the plan to invest in improved facilities for the institute, new working methods have enabled more time to be spent on cleaning and more staff have been recruited.
Professor Marion Bain, NHSGGC director of infection prevention and control, said: “Prevention and control of infection remains a top priority for NHSGGC.
“The latest inspection demonstrates the QEUH and the Royal Hospital for Children are meeting national requirements in relation to infection control and cleanliness standards.
“In particular, I would like to thank all staff involved as the progress made is a testament to their hard work.
“I am very pleased to receive this positive report, however, we are absolutely determined to ensure we continue to improve the service for the benefit of patients, and will continue to work with HIS to implement any further recommendations.”
HIS issued one recommendation and 14 requirements, including that the health board must ensure the “patient environment” and patient equipment in the Institute of Neurological Sciences is clean and ready for use to reduce the risk of cross infection and that the “domestic resource meets the
demands to enable effective cleaning and ensure infection prevention” in the institute.
The health board has been escalated to level four on a five-level scale of Government involvement in the authority amid concerns over the QEUH.
Meanwhile, a public inquiry will take place to examine issues at the site and the delayed Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.