'Anecdotal Evidence' Points To Poor Hygiene In Hospital Staff Rooms

Doctors have reported poor and unhygienic conditions in staff rooms throughout the country.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, an official for the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) said a study is needed to show the conditions hard-working staff has to face.

The union representative, who is chairman of the IMO's non-consultant hospital doctors (NCHD) committee and a senior trainee psychiatrist at St Ita's Hospital in north Dublin, noted that conditions have improved at the staff rooms over the past decade.

However, despite the need for reasonable conditions for doctors working up to 36-hour shifts, Dr Matt Sadlier said there is "anecdotal evidence" some units have rodent and cleanliness problems and are a potential security risk.

He commented: "These residences are used wherever a doctor is on call overnight, and there is anecdotal evidence to say there are a number of problems in these units. There is a lack of privacy in the showering and washing facilities, bed linen is often not changed, there are some security issues and there are anecdotal reports of vermin infestation.

"It is a small number of sites, not the majority of hospitals, but it is a nationwide issue. There is no exact pattern to it, it is not in one certain place.

"What we want to see are regular inspections, unannounced. There is anecdotal evidence of these issues," Dr Sadlier added.

The issue is set to be raised by the NCHD committee at the IMO's annual general meeting next month, which will see a motion calling for the national survey put to the leading medical union's members.

The motion is expected to also call for the HSE to ensure that rooms are regularly inspected, without warning, by an environmental inspection officer - an issue that is currently not taking place.

While Dr Sadlier declined to single out individual hospitals, he confirmed the issue is a nationwide problem, which is linked to the age of some buildings and the fact some newer facilities failed to include purpose-built doctors' residences.


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