HSE sends letters to eight hospitals over health and safety

HSE reports on health and safety in hospitals
HSE reports on health and safety in hospitals (PA Wire)
20:41pm, Wed 05 May 2021
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Letters have been sent to eight hospitals formally requiring them to take action to remedy contraventions of health and safety law, following a Covid-related inspection, it has been revealed.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said four hospitals were given advice, while five were assessed as having high levels of compliance.

An HSE spokesman said the inspections’ findings had been shared widely with NHS trusts and health boards across England, Scotland and Wales “as an opportunity to share learning and swiftly identify any common areas that may need improvement”.

He added: “This pandemic has been long, incredibly challenging and continually evolving.

“The NHS trusts and boards involved had all invested significant time and effort to implement a variety of Covid control measures in the hospitals inspected.

“Health and social care professionals continue to work tirelessly, and we thank them for their commitment and dedication.”

Ministers and officials alike have failed to respond adequately to the concerns nursing staff are raising

Royal College of Nursing acting general secretary, Pat Cullen, said: “We have been warning for months that too many nursing staff are not safely protected.

“Ministers and officials alike have failed to respond adequately to the concerns nursing staff are raising.

“Our people must know that every effort is made to keep them safe.

“There must be an urgent official response to the findings of this report.”

HSE inspected 17 acute hospitals between last November and January, including 13 NHS Trusts in England and two NHS Health Boards in Scotland and Wales respectively as part of its national Covid-19 spot check inspection programme.

The areas covered were risk assessment, management arrangements specific to Covid-19, social distancing, cleaning and hygiene measures, ventilation, dealing with suspected cases and PPE.

HSE said: “We found all of the NHS trusts and boards had invested significant time and effort to implement a variety of Covid control measures in the hospitals we inspected.

“Common themes included the importance of leadership visibility and having robust risk assessment and monitoring systems in place to ensure control measures are implemented and maintained.

“We found high compliance in clinical areas, but more focus was needed in some hospitals on their social distancing arrangements in non-clinical areas.

“All of the hospitals had sufficient supplies of PPE and the majority had adequate arrangements in place for ensuring it was used effectively.

“We saw Covid security measures were robust in some hospitals, but in others improvements were needed to secure compliance with government guidelines across all areas of the hospital.”

The HSJ, which first reported the story, said the study meant half of the hospitals inspected broke Covid safety law.

An NHS spokesman said: “As HSE recognise, hospitals have invested significant time and effort to implement a host of Covid-secure measures throughout the pandemic and have been asked to review this report to ensure they are rigorously following Public Health England guidance.

“Dedicated expert teams support trusts with their infection prevention control where it is needed.”

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