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PPE: ward staff failed to wear face masks correctly or maintain hand hygiene

Critical CQC report prompted hospital trust to retrain staff in infection control practices

Care Quality Commission highlighted nurses misuse of face masks during an inspection at East Kent Hospitals trust

The Care Quality Commissions report raised concerns over personal protection equipment at East Kents William Harvey Hospital in August. Picture: Alamy

A trust said it retrained staff in how to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as in hygiene practices after being criticised by inspectors.

Care Quality Commission (CQC) officials visited East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trusts William Harvey Hospital emergency department and medical wards on 11 August.

Incorrect use of face masks on COVID-19 ward, says report

They found staff were not always wearing PPE correctly, and raised concerns about hygiene practices.

Their report states: We saw a senior nurse

Care Quality Commission highlighted nurses’ misuse of face masks during an inspection at East Kent Hospitals trust

William Harvey Hospital, where CQC found poor infection control practice
The Care Quality Commission’s report raised concerns over personal protection
equipment at East Kent’s William Harvey Hospital in August. Picture: Alamy

A trust said it retrained staff in how to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as in hygiene practices after being criticised by inspectors.

Care Quality Commission (CQC) officials visited East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust’s William Harvey Hospital emergency department and medical wards on 11 August.

Incorrect use of face masks on COVID-19 ward, says report

They found staff were not always wearing PPE correctly, and raised concerns about hygiene practices.

Their report states: ‘We saw a senior nurse ask nursing staff to wear their face mask correctly over their mouth and nose on six occasions on the COVID-19 ward.’

More generally, inspectors also found that the trust could not say how many staff had been trained to use PPE.

Inspectors pointed to other issues such as staff not changing PPE when leaving areas, not washing hands, and a lack of social distancing guidance at the hospital.

‘We did not see any signs on non-clinical areas, such as ward offices, storage rooms or staff rooms to indicate the maximum capacity of that room,’ the report reads.

‘This meant staff did not know how many people could be in a room at any one time to safely maintain social distancing.’

‘Extremely disappointing’ following earlier warning

CQC chief inspector of hospitals, Ted Baker said the trust had been warned about hygiene practices on 3 August.

‘It is extremely disappointing to find that despite being warned about their hygiene, not enough work had been carried out to address infection control issues,’ he said.

‘It is particularly concerning during a time when infection control could never have been more important.’

‘Immediate’ action at William Harvey Hospital

East Kent Hospitals interim director of infection prevention and control Sara Mumford said the trust acted immediately following the inspection to retrain staff in PPE use and hand hygiene, and to make physical changes to the hospital to support social distancing.

‘Staff have worked incredibly hard throughout the pandemic to care for patients, and their care and safety remains our priority,’ she said.


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