Holles St staff must improve standards, regardless of infrastructure

National Maternity Hospital is not fit for purpose and will move in coming years, but after a HIQA inspection showed poor hygiene there are calls for better standards in the interim

A former regional advisor for nursing and midwifery for the WHO European Region is calling for proper systems and correct auditing to be put in place to ensure standards of care in maternity hospitals.

It comes after a Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) report showed that sick babies attending the National Maternity Hospital at Holles Street in Dublin were at serious risk of infection from overcrowding and poor environmental hygiene.

The National Maternity Hospital says it has raised the issues highlighted by HIQA many times and says the current infrastructure is unfit for purpose.

The hospital is due to move to a new state-of-the-art site, although it is not expected to be ready until 2020.

Áine Fawcett Hennessy, the former Regional Advisor for nursing and midwifery for the WHO European region told Newstalk's Breakfast that even a new hospital will not meet standards if correct procedures are not in place:

"Many of us have worked in old hospitals. I don't buy that one. It doesn't mean because it is old it can't be cleaned.

You may not have all the mod cons, but basic cleaning is done by people - having the right number of cleaners, making sure the nurses are trained in the maintaining of standards. These are basic things.

It doesn't matter if it is an old hospital or a new hospital, you still have to maintain it."