A report by Hiqa that criticises conditions at Nenagh Hospital has been condemned by local politicians. The report of the unannounced visit on September 5, found that “there was much evidence of practice that was not compliant with the National Standards for the Prevention and Control of Healthcare Associated Infections.
It also found the environment and equipment on both areas surveyed - Medical 1 Ward and Medical Ward 2 - were generally unclean.
Junior Minister Alan Kelly this week took issue both with the findings and the manner in which they were reported nationally.
“I am concerned at the alarming nature of the national media coverage about the Hiqa report into Nenagh Hospital. I certainly feel that Nenagh was disproportionally highlighted vis a vis the other far larger hospitals that were reported on,” he said.
He said that having met management last Friday, he was “absolutely convinced” that all issues will be addressed.
“The issues raised in the report do need to be addressed in full, and they will. However, the report needs to be read in the context of the current situation in the hospital, which is partially a construction site due to the approximately €4m this Government is spending on new theatres and related works. As can be seen from the report many issues originate as structural issues rather than daily cleaning issues,” he said.
“It’s hugely important to state that Nenagh Hospital is safe and clean. Staff work very hard to make sure it is. Patients and their families are well aware of this,” he said.
Meanwhile the report was raised at this Monday’s North Tipperary Couny Council meeting, with Cllr Jim Casey calling on Deputy Kelly to deliver funding so that Nenagh could have a hospital “we could all be proud of”.
He described the report as “embarrassing for all of us”, but said he was confident it was no reflection on the staff.
Cllr Casey and Cllr Virginia O’Dowd clashed over Deputy Kelly’s role in the Nenagh Hospital Action Group, with Cllr O’Dowd saying the Junior Minister was “obviously still a thorn” in his side. She said the staff were upset by the report, which concentrated on structural issues and failed to take into account the building work, a point supported by Mayor Ger Darcy.
Cllr Seamus Morris claimed Hiqa had an agenda and had “checked rust on trolleys instead of probing conditions at the Mis-Western Regional Hospital” which they had been asked to do by Nenagh Town Council.
The reduction in staff levels was highlighted by Cllr John Carroll, supported by Cllr Seamus Hanafin.