'Gaps' in SGH practices led to Hepatitis C outbreak

'Gaps' in SGH practices led to Hepatitis C outbreak
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - "Gaps in infection prevention and control practices" likely caused the Hepatitis C outbreak earlier this year in the Singapore General Hospital (SGH).

A report submitted to the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Saturday (Dec 5) by the Independent Review Committee tasked to investigate the outbreak said that these "gaps increased the transmission risk" of the disease "through intravenous procedures".

The committee had observed "deviations from standard procedures in administering intravenous procedures, such as blood-taking and giving of intravenous medications; inefficient workflow in the affected wards; and evidence of contamination of medical equipment", it said in the report.

The report also said that SGH has since "tightened infection control processes", which was "instrumental" in containing further spread.

MOH also said in a statement today (Dec 8) that the committee had "found no evidence that SGH or MOH staff deliberately delayed escalating the outbreak or in informing the Minister for Health".

"We apologise to the patients and their families who have been affected by the outbreak. For the families who have lost their loved ones, we extend our deepest condolences," MOH said. "We will continue to work with SGH to ensure that the affected patients and their families receive the necessary support and care to manage their conditions."

sinsh@sph.com.sg

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