An inspection of Letterkenny General Hospital has identified a number of high risks including environmental hygiene, infrastructure, maintenance, hand hygiene, aspergillus control and safe injection practices.

The unannounced inspection was carried out by the Health Information and Quality Authority in June 2015.

A follow-up inspection one month later found no significant improvement in the overall standard of environmental hygiene.

Varying levels of dust were observed in all areas and patient equipment cleaning was unsatisfactory. 

Maintenance of the patient environment in the Orthopaedic Unit was of significant concern with ward wide issues related to maintenance.

Surfaces, finishes, flooring and some furnishings in patient rooms including windows, wall paintwork, woodwork, wood finishes were worn and poorly maintained and as such did not facilitate effective cleaning.

Only 55% of hand hygiene opportunities observed by inspectors were taken.

The Authority was also not assured that the risk of invasive aspergillosis was being fully managed in line with the Infection Prevention and Control Standards.

Letterkenny General Hospital is a 323 bedded Acute General Hospital providing a broad range of acute services on an in-patient, out-patient and day-case basis.

Sinn Féin's Pádraig Mac Lochlainn said the report makes for alarming reading, adding there will be serious questions for the management of the hospital.

The Donegal North-East TD told RTÉ’s News At One that he hopes lessons will be learned, but the overall difficulty is that the hospital has had the lowest budget allocation and the lowest allocation of staff.

Mr Mac Lochlainn said that under-investment in the hospital has meant that standards have not been met.

Meanwhile, another unannounced HIQA inspection of the Mater Hospital in Dublin has found that deficiencies in the cleanliness of patient equipment, one ward and the Intensive Care Unit.

The use of fans in the clinical area should be reviewed and unsafe injections practice was also observed in the Intensive Care Unit.

All wheelchairs located inside the main entrance of one of the hospital's buildings were unclean with stains visible on the metal parts and on some seat areas.

Inspectors found varying unacceptable levels of dust on high and low surfaces in one ward.

One of three mattresses inspected were compromised and red staining was visible on the cover of a second mattress. Organic matter was present on the bed rails of one bed assessed.

The overall compliance with self-assessment hygiene audits by wards and departments within the hospital for 2014 was 36%.

HIQA observed a number of insufficiently-labelled syringes containing emergency drugs drawn up in anticipation of an emergency situation where they may be required.

An unannounced inspection of St Luke’s Hospital in Dublin found risks in relation to infection prevention and control in its day cancer ward, where patients receive chemotherapy treatment.

HIQA recommended that infection prevention and control risks were comprehensively reviewed.

The inspection was carried out on 25 June 2015.

Overall the environment and patient equipment in the day ward were clean with a few exceptions.

Small areas of staining and dust were observed on the under surfaces of five of eight vacant beds inspected indicating that these beds had not been completely cleaned following patient discharge.

Individual clinical areas in the hospital did not have dedicated rooms for the storage of cleaning equipment.

Opportunities for improvement in relation to injection practice was identified. 

Used syringes and supplies infusion sets should be disposed of at the point of care into an approved container.

The configuration and design of the day ward was out-dated and not optimal from an infection prevention and control perspective.