Published: 30/01/2003, Volume II3, No. 5840 Page 5

The NHS needs to show as much vigilance about infection as the public does about suspicious packages, according to a report by Quality Improvement Scotland.

In its first report, the new standards body, which merges a number of quality organisations, including the Clinical Standards Board for Scotland, says too many hospitals are failing to tackle healthcare-associated infections:

'The real challenge for NHS Scotland is to introduce a culture of surveillance and vigilance.We have all learned to be alert for suspicious packages and to take action if we are concerned. In the same way, we need to be alert for infection.'

The national overview, published last week, reports on the performance of trusts across Scotland against standards set by the CSBS, using self-assessments and visits.

Meanwhile, a report by the Audit Scotland out today says one in five hospitals shows a clear need for improved cleaning services. Spot checks carried out on 74 hospitals revealed that 21 gave 'cause for concern' in either wards or public areas. Those giving most concern included Hairmyres Hospital in Lanarkshire, Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Victoria Infirmary, also in Glasgow.