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Hospitals: Hygiene

Volume 468: debated on Thursday 29 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the likely effect of compulsory ward inspections on (a) hygiene standards and (b) infection rates in hospitals. (163405)

The Healthcare Commission is currently carrying out spot checks of 120 trusts and, from next year, the commission will be undertaking annual specialist inspections of all acute trusts. It will be for the Healthcare Commission to decide how detailed an inspection is required in any individual case and inspections are likely to vary in depth, with the greatest focus being on those trusts giving rise to the greatest concern.

The Healthcare Commission has the power to issue improvement notices where it finds material failures to comply with the statutory code of practice for the prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections, in order to ensure that such failings are remedied.

As these inspections will be in place, the Department considers that compulsory ward inspections would duplicate activity.