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Spot check hygiene crackdown announced for GP surgeries

15 September 2008

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Hygiene spot checks at Scottish GP surgeries are to be carried out by hit squads of “bug busters” after nine people died of Clostridium difficile.

The outbreak at the Vale of Leven Hospital in Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire, has prompted a crackdown at hospitals and health centres as well as surgeries.

The findings of an independent review into the circumstances at the Vale of Leven have been referred to the Crown Office, which is investigating. In total, 55 people were affected by the bug between December 2007 to June this year.

Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon has since said that greater standards of monitoring and inspection are required in hospitals. The checks are designed to ensure cleanliness standards are being maintained.

She said: “All chief executives have been asked to undertake a local self assessment against new NHS quality improvement standards (QIS) requirements, and report outcomes back to the Scottish Government by the turn of the year.

“All NHS boards will be formally assessed against these revised standards next year. The new method of assessment that NHS boards will now be required to follow is in the process of development. But the underpinning requirement will be that this assessment must be independent, robust and transparent to all.”

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Quality Improvement Scotland

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“I can see the point about increasing the hygiene standards in the hospitals, but in my experience the infections are coming out of the hospitals into the community and they are then being cleaned up in the GP surgery. If the level of hygiene was not as high in the surgeries, would we be able to do this? Surely it would be better to put the resources to better use in the hospitals” – Elaine Murray, Edinburgh