Hospital rapped over dusty shelves

CLEAN curtains and theatre scrubs stored on shelves covered in a thick layer of dust, and no separation between clean and dirty linen items '“ this was the scene that greeted cleanliness inspectors at Southlands Hospital in Shoreham.

Worthing and Southlands Hospitals NHS Trust has breached part of a hygiene code put in place by the Healthcare Commission to minimise the risk to patients from infections such as MRSA and C. difficile.

In the report, inspectors said: "The linen and laundry room at the Southlands Hospital was untidy and had improper segregation of clean and dirty items.

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"Clean curtains and theatre scrub suits were stored on shelves that had a thick layer of dust.

"Cleaning equipment was stored in this room inappropriately. This is evidence that the trust does not meet this sub-duty."

Sites inspected

Four out of a total of 11 possible areas were examined by inspectors, who visited both hospital sites unannounced on February 10 and 11.

They ordered the trust to ensure that every part of the premises where healthcare is provided is kept clean and is maintained in good physical repair and condition.

The commission will carry out a re-visit in six months' time to see if improvements have been made.

A hospital spokeswoman admitted a mistake had been made.

Mistakes made

She said: "Refurbishment work was being carried out in this area of the hospital resulting in the room being using inappropriately.

"We acted immediately to address the issue and have spoken to all staff involved."

Inspectors said the majority of clinical areas visited at Worthing and Southlands Hospitals had a clean and tidy environment, with bed rails, trolleys and drip stands clean and dust free.

A Healthcare Commission spokesperson added: "The breach by Worthing and Southlands NHS Trust would not be a direct risk to patient safety but it means the trust was probably not following best practice hygiene standards, which is something it needs to address."

Pest investigation

On the same day the cleanliness report was carried out, pest control investigators were called into Southlands Hospital after evidence of rodents was found.

Staff spotted droppings on February 10 and raised the alarm.

All surgical operations were cancelled while a deep-clean was carried out.

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