NHS trusts face fines for poor hygiene12th August 2008
The government has said it will impose penalties of up to £50,000 on NHS trusts which fail to meet hygiene standards.
The new fines are part of a fresh effort by the government to tackle hospital "superbug" infections such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile.
The people conducting inspections will be able to ensure unclean hospitals are prosecuted and put sanctions in place to fine or close healthcare services.
A hospital which does not meet the "minimum" level of cleanliness will be fined "up to" £4,000. Preventing inspection or failure to give data to inspectors can lead to a fine of £1,250.
If a hospital or clinic does not improve standards after being issued with a notice it can be given a maximum fine of £50,000.
The Department of Health published a document on 11 August which set out the proposals for the power held by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The body is due to take over from the Healthcare Commission in 2009.
David Nicholson, chief executive of the NHS, writes in the foreword: "Patients keep telling us that contracting a healthcare-associated infection is one of their biggest concerns. It is crucial that we focus on bringing infection rates down even further."
According to data published by the Healthcare Commission in June, one in four NHS trusts in England are failing to attain minimum hygiene levels for the second year in a row.
Jo Webber, of the NHS Confederation, representing NHS trusts, said: "NHS trusts are absolutely clear that they have a responsibility to maintain high standards of hygiene. Fines should be a last resort."
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Title: NHS trusts face fines for poor hygiene
Author: Claire Tuckey
Article Id: 7859
Date Added: 12th Aug 2008