Belfast Telegraph

Call to replace baby deaths unit

A hospital neonatal unit where three babies died in Belfast should be replaced to improve infection control, a report into the pseudomonas outbreak has said.

The design does not allow enough space around each cot and there is a lack of appropriate accommodation for isolation or cleaning equipment in the regional neonatal intensive care centre at the Royal Victoria Hospital's maternity section. This does not help maintain good infection and prevention control practices, the review team said.

"It is recommended that the move to a new unit is expedited as quickly as possible," its report said.

"In the interim, steps should be taken to create improved facilities for segregation of babies with infections and for cleaning equipment and incubators."

The review panel from the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority is investigating the deaths of four babies who had contracted the infection.

Its first interim report addresses the causes and impact of the outbreak, and the full report is due by the end of May.

Three babies died in the Royal Jubilee Maternity Unit in January, while another newborn died at Londonderry's Altnagelvin Hospital in December. The report said there were delays in sharing information about the outbreak between health trusts.

All 175 taps in Northern Ireland's neonatal units are being replaced, with priority being given to taps where contamination had been detected.

Neonatal wards also conducted deep cleans and intensive checks for the bacteria that can be found in water supply units. Only sterile water is being used for the direct care of patients and the report recommended that this be made permanent.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is found widely in soil and stagnant water.

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