STAFF at an Ayrshire hospital were in for high praise following a watchdog report.

Healthcare Improvement Scotland visited the Ayr based mental health facility back in December of last year, and published their findings from the announced inspection earlier today, Thursday March 9.

This is the first in a programme of inspections with a focus on infection, prevention and control designed to support services to identify and minimise risks to safety and support ongoing improvements in quality of care in NHS adult mental health units across Scotland.

The inspection programme aims to provide assurance on current infection prevention and control practices within the current operating environment and comes at the request of Scottish Government.

It is part of a range of actions to support and improve mental health care services across the country.

And the NHS Ayrshire and Arran facility have plenty of positives to take from this inital inspection. Four areas of good practice were highlighted by Healthcare Improvement Scotland.

Their report stated: "Regular daily infection control updates ensured staff were kept up to date with information and there was good support from the infection prevention and control team.

"We observed good examples of environmental improvement initiatives in response to areas for improvement identified in audit.

"We observed a range of communication systems that ensured that staff were updated about changes in infection prevention and control guidance or events within the NHS board. Staff we spoke with told us they felt well informed and information easily accessible.

"Audit results showed good staff compliance with infection prevention and control practice."

However, the report also provided further details of improvements that can be made to enhance the care at Ailsa Hospital.

The actions that Healthcare Improvement Scotland expects the NHS board to take are split into requirements and recommendations.

The report details the required improvements, it states: "NHS Ayrshire & Arran must ensure contaminated linen is managed in line with guidance.

"NHS Ayrshire & Arran must review and improve the effectiveness and responsiveness of the estates reporting programme. This must include the establishment of effective timelines for works to be prioritised and undertaken and establishing regular reporting of progress."

While less essential matters were highlighted in their reccomendations.

These said: "NHS Ayrshire and Arran should review signage for visitors, particularly at the point of entry into the ward to encourage hand hygiene and use of masks.

"NHS Ayrshire and Arran should review current domestic arrangements to ensure sufficient resources are in place to meet the cleaning requirements of the ward areas.

"NHS Ayrshire and Arran should develop and implement processes to ensure patients and visitors can provide feedback on the cleanliness of the environment."

Following the report, Donna Maclean, Head of Service at Healthcare Improvement Scotland, confirmed that “in order to prioritise the requirements from this inspection, an action plan has been developed by NHS Ayrshire and Arran".