‘Poor state of repair’: JR operating department trip hazards and infection risks revealed

Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital NNL-150710-123011001
Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital NNL-150710-123011001

The ‘poor’ state of the John Racliffe Hospital’s operating department has been revealed, with inspectors finding holes in theatre floors, infection risks and unobscured views of patients undergoing surgery.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) found the areas of concern during an unannounced inspection of the Oxford hospital in November and December last year.

The report has not yet been published but on a section of its website, the CQC details the holes covered up with tape, chipped work surfaces and lack of evidence equipment had been cleaned in the operating department.

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the JR and the Horton General, said it takes the concerns ‘very seriously’ and improvements are being made.

The CQC’s website says: “In areas of the main operating department the fabric of the environment was found to be in a poor state of repair and effective cleaning could not be assured, presenting a potential infection control risk. These areas were in patient, staff and clinical areas.

“Around the entire theatre complex paint was seen to be peeling off walls. Doors and walls were damaged, exposing underlying surfaces and material such as wood and concrete.”

In the corridor around theatres three and four, there was a dent in the floor covered by tape, which had caused a staff member to injury her arm by tripping over it in June, 2018.

The inspector continues: “During an inspection by the Care Quality Commission on December 7, 2018, we found patients’ privacy was not maintained at all times.

“This was because we found the windows in the double doors leading directly into theatre one were unobscured.

“The inspector was able to look directly into the theatre and see the patient undergoing surgery. Any member of staff or patient passing would have direct view of patients in the theatre.”

Medical equipment, including monitors and scanning units, was stored in the corridors with no evidence the equipment had been cleaned, according to the CQC.

“There was no assurance that the equipment was cleaned prior to it being wheeled into the theatres and equipment was not covered,” it says.

“A senior member of staff was unable to assure us that equipment was cleaned before use.”

The CQC site adds the risk to the health and safety of service users receiving care and treatment and to staff in the main operating department had not be assessed and mitigated.

A trust spokesman said: “Following the Care Quality Commission’s unannounced core service inspection, undertaken in November and December 2018, concerns were raised related to the quality of the environment in the John Radcliffe Hospital theatres.

“The trust takes this position very seriously and immediate actions have been taken to make improvements.

“We are ensuring that the theatre environment is kept clean and safe to use which includes the storage of all equipment and adherence to infection control and cleaning policies.

“We have also put in place plans to avoid excess stock levels and to store all equipment off the floor in a safe manner.

“A detailed action plan has already been developed to address the specific structural issues raised urgently and all the necessary repairs are due to commence on April 8.”