"appalling lack of hygiene awareness"

About: Cumberland Infirmary

Whilst an inpatient on one of the medical wards (why no category for this on the drop-down box for departments?) I required a new cannula inserting to give IV medication. It was a Sunday and the on-call junior doctor (F1? F2?) who I had never seen before came to perform the task. Not only did he look scruffy, but he was wearing a long sleeved sweatshirt, he did not introduce himself, didn't wash his hands before attempting the procedure, didn't have any gloves and then started to prepare to insert the cannula without cleaning my skin! I had to insist that he wash his hands properly and use an appropriate skin cleansing solution if he was to attempt to put the cannula in. He eventually went away to find a skin-prep wipe, but then again tried to perform he procedure without washing his hands! He eventually inserted the cannula, but refused to wear gloves - is this really appropriate when coming into contact with a patient's blood? If this doctor repeatedly did this for many patients, and combined with his apparent reticence toward hand-washing, it is obvious that this is putting patients at risk from cross-contamination. Finally, just to add to the debacle, the doctor forgot to flush the cannula too! I'm sorry, but as the hospital was in the midst of an exceedingly protracted outbreak of norovirus with many beds and wards closed, I am absolutely astonished that this haphazard and indifferent approach to basic hygiene is still continuing. It is no wonder that the outbreak has lasted so long when staff are apparently oblivious to basic hygiene requirements, and appear to take offence when patients ask them to wash their hands.

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Response from Cumberland Infirmary

Thank you so much for contacting us to raise these concerns and draw this matter to our attention. The events described are not our usual standard and I will ensure that this is followed up immediately. Please be assured that extensive efforts have been made to ensure adherence to hygiene standards across our hospitals. I am very sorry that on that this was not the case on this occasion. With regards and thanks Alison Patient Experience

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