A dozen staff in leadership positions from the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) and four Ministry of Health (MOH) officers have faced disciplinary actions over last year’s (2015) Hepatitis C outbreak at the hospital.
In separate press releases from both organisations released on Thursday (17 March), it was revealed that the punishments imposed on the respective staff included stern warnings and financial penalties. Those taken to task included senior SGH staff and the four MOH officers were of director level or holding equivalent roles.
Both MOH and SGH said their affected staff had accepted the penalties imposed.
The ministry apologised to the patients and their families affected by the outbreak and said it would “continue to work with SGH to ensure that they receive the necessary support and care to manage their conditions”.
Following SGH’s revelation in October 2015 that 22 people had been infected with Hepatitis C in its renal ward earlier in the year, an Independent Review Committee (IRC) was formed to investigate the lapses and gaps in procedure that led to the outbreak.
In its press release, SGH said that following the release of the IRC’s findings, Peter Seah, chairman of SingHealth’s board of directors, had appointed a Human Resource Panel to examine the roles, responsibilities and actions of key SGH staff in the incident, and assess if disciplinary actions needed to be taken.
Aside from the penalties imposed, the Panel also “recommended that front-line healthcare staff caring for patients, should be provided every support and re-training, and undertake competency assessment, to ensure that they understand and comply with infection control and cleaning procedures”.
The hospital also reiterated the ongoing steps it has taken to improve current infection control measures, which include:
- Instituting regular, thorough cleaning and disinfection of potentially contaminated surfaces, with clearer roles and responsibilities for who should undertake the cleaning
- Introducing enhanced education and training programmes, including curriculum for all new staff
- Improving supervision and monitoring of practices such as hand hygiene practices
- Use of needle-less connectors hospital-wide
“(SGH) will rectify the gaps to ensure that patients receive the best and safest care. We will continue to emphasise patient safety as our highest priority. To this end, we will mobilise people, review systems and strengthen processes,” said Seah.
Meanwhile, the MOH said that it had started its National Outbreak Response Team this month (March 2016), which comprises “experts from across the healthcare fraternity, to augment the efforts of healthcare institutions to deal with disease outbreaks”.
News from: Yahoo