"Security and hygiene methods at ..."

About: Princess Anne Hospital

(as a relative),

What could be improved

Security and hygiene methods at PAH: I recently had a baby at RHCH where each patient nominated two visitors for the whole stay. This was to help stop the spread of germs during the winter months - they are very strict on this. Also visitors could not enter any ward without using the buzzer. When entering or leaving the building an automated message tells people to gel there hands. In comparison, my son's girlfriend has had a baby in PAH where there appear to be no restrictions on the number of visitors and if there were this was not enforced. More alarmingly, ANYONE can walk into the wards freely. On visiting at 7pm I saw no members of staff along the corridors or at the reception desk. Later at 10pm, my father entered the ward area walking past security guards and was not asked who he was! I accidently walked into a ward where other patients were feeding. What is the point of having baby identification tags if anyone could take them whilst the mother is out of the room? My sister currently has a baby in the special care baby unit at PAH. She was shocked that just a short time after her baby's heart operation a family member arrived unexpectedly, entered the special care baby unit wearing a coat and had not used hand gel. Again, she could have been ANYONE. RHCH special care baby unit has buzzers, coats are left outside the ward and visitors have to wash their hands and use gel. It greatly worries me that babies and mothers are left vulnerable by poor security and hygiene methods at PAH!

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Response from Princess Anne Hospital

Thank you for sharing your comments about the Princess Anne Hospital. We have shared your feedback with our head of midwifery who, in the light of this feedback, has raised awareness that doors must be locked at all times if the reception is not manned. We have also revisited our visiting policy with a group of patient representatives.

We have responded below to some of the general points you raise but it would help to have more specific information to enable us to investigate further, so please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison service on pals@suht.swest.nhs.uk or by calling 023 8079 8498.

On infection prevention:

Preventing infection is a high priority for the Trust. We expect everyone entering a ward area to use hand gel and staff are usually very particular about encouraging visitors to hand gel. There is very clear advertising and ample hand gel dispensers for all to use. We also are very clear that people with flu-like symptoms should not be visiting. Within Maternity in Southampton we have not experienced a surge in women with flu like symptoms and when discussed with our patient group they felt our visiting was appropriate unless flu becomes more prevalent.

On visitors:

Women who have a longer stay relish the opportunity to have visitors and have expressed how helpful this has been in user feedback. The Broadlands Birth Centre in particular has a more flexible approach to visiting because the women are all well and would have been eligible for a home birth and are likely to go home very quickly. This means that there are sometimes a number of willing hands to support mum and dads quick return home. On other wards visiting times are restricted to 2.30-4 pm and 7-8.30pm.

On security:

We do not have a security guard permanently posted outside the maternity wards, although we can call security from Southampton General to deal with specific incidents and we do have a porters’ office near the D level entrance. The doors to both Burley and Broadlands wards are locked with a digital door lock if the reception desk is not manned and visitors are expected to buzz through to the midwifery office to gain entry.

The baby tags used for babies are for predominantly identification from birth, in the same way that adults have patient labels. There is an expectation that mothers are responsible for the security and safety of their infants unless they ask a member of staff to watch over their infant whilst they have a bath /shower etc. We take security of our ward areas very seriously and usually only allow partners of women in early labour/ labour or those with a poorly baby in Neonatal Unit free visiting.

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