The HSE setting up Centres of Excellence was so that all services based within a wide catchment area would be under one roof. This was in order to save money and that you’d have a more effective service for patients. But Centres of Excellence must mean best practice in all areas of service both for the patient and the service providers. So you would then imagine that the setting up of Centres of Excellence would mean standards of excellence also. This is not necessarily so, it would seem.
On a recent visits to the NUH Galway I was amazed to find the following: On one ward I found about ten wheel chairs stored in a large unused toilet, furniture along with medical equipment lined the hallway, folders on shelves in the ward, a plastic basin on a shelf along with other bits and pieces with various medical devices left on the food tray. Is this best practice? Doctors dressed in casual clothes without hair being tied back, a Dietician going into the ward with two students on a fact finding mission? This was happening where patients were seriously ill—most unable to communicate with anyone.
If you compare the situation to a clean-room environment in any medical device company the following rules would be enforced. Benches cleaned down at least three times a day with 70% alcohol to kill bacteria. No unused equipment left hanging around. Any worker entering into this area must not wear frayed jeans or they will be sent home. Skirting boards in these factories are of a plastic material which does not chip liked the over painted wooden ones in NUH Galway. The whole purpose of these stringent FDA (Federal Drugs & Administration) rules is that no foreign material bacterial or otherwise gets onto devices made for use in invasive surgery.
So why is the standard in our Centres of Excellence so low? What impact does the situation have on the wellbeing and recovery of patients? Why are these issues not monitored by HIQA? A course in Feng Shui for beginners would not go amiss for Management in NUH Galway.
Cllr Nuala Nolan, Galway City Council