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September 29, 2022

Report on Colectiv fire victims highlights management flaws in handling hospital-acquired infections

A report by the Prime Minister’s Control Body shines a light on the flaws in the management of hospital-acquired infections in the health facilities where the victims of the Colectiv fire were treated, as well as in the way the Bucharest Public Health Directorate (DSPMB) handled the situation.

“As concerns the inspections carried out by DSPMB in the health care facilities with beds and emergency departments/units prior and after the Colectiv club fire, we found that this institution has acted differently, as prior to this event it did not take samples for microbiological control (sanitation tests, drinking water and food samples) to highlight potential hospital infections in any of the 50 verified health care facilities with beds, although deficiencies regarding the sanitary and hygiene conditions, the sterilization and cleanliness / disinfection standards had been reported in most of the hospitals. Also, during hospital verifications before the Colectiv club fire, DSPMB did not proceed to the assessment / monitoring of the situation of hospital-acquired infections, as it did subsequently to this event,” reads the report of the Prime Minister’s Control Body posted on Monday on the control.ro website.

The document also shows that as a result of repeated and uncorrelated legislative amendments, the scope of DSPMB’s control activities has diminished.

“The institutional capacity and existing control mechanisms in the health care system are insufficiently developed. Thus, in the context of legislative changes in the field of public health and the lack of correlation of the provisions of the relevant regulations, in the period 2010 – 2016 DSPMB’s activities of assessment, control and participation in / coordination of emergency medical services and the Directorate’s responsibilities related to medical assistance in disasters, epidemics, catastrophes and other special situations have diminished,” found the Prime Minister’s Control Body.

The major failures found by the Control Body’s investigative report and referred to the competent authorities were constraints related to the premises where medical emergency activities are being performed – old buildings, damaged wall painting, destroyed flooring – understaffing of the medical emergency services, insufficient medical emergency equipment, medicines and sanitary materials, overcrowding of the emergency departments/units with patients with conditions that could have been treated by family doctors or in outpatient centres.

The control was conducted from March to September at the units under the Health Ministry’s authority where the Colectiv fire victims were hospitalized, and at the Bucharest Public Health Directorate, and targeted the way how these entities complied with the legal provisions on the organization and functioning of medical emergency services in the period January 2015 – June 2016.

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