‘Dirty’ kitchens uncovered at town hospital

The University Hospital of Hartlepool
The University Hospital of Hartlepool
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HYGIENE inspections at a hospital uncovered “dirty, leaking and damaged” areas in its kitchens.

A microwave, a freezer, and walls in the bakery and pot washing sections were all ruled as “dirty” when a food hygiene inspector checked the kitchen and Croft Restaurant at the University Hospital of Hartlepool.

The report also deemed a ventilation canopy to be greasy, another was said to be unclean and a tap and a sink were found to be leaking, resulting in water dripping onto the floor.

The report stated that the staff should “thoroughly cleanse these areas and maintain them in a clean condition”.

It also said a hand wash basin was being used to store dirty cloths, tiles needed fixing, and the floor of a chiller needed repairing.

The Hartlepool Borough Council inspector also unveiled a sandwich preparation room operating at a temperature higher than legally allowed and out-of-date fridge and freezer records.

Advice was also given to staff on cross-contamination and e-coli.

The findings followed two inspections at the hospital – the first on April 15, 2009, when it was awarded three stars with the Tees Valley Food Hygiene Award Scheme, and the second on March 16 this year, when it received four stars.

The director of operations for North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, Kevin Oxley said: “We pride ourselves on the standards in our kitchens and our catering.

“Of course the authorities who monitor and inspect our services have to bring the latest requirements set down by organisations such as The Food Standards Agency to our attention.

“For example the dangers of e-coli set out in their letter of 22 March, 2011, and in the interests of the patients, visitors and staff who are on our premises we always ensure we are following the latest guidance and regulations.

“The inspectors from the local authority raised two small points about ventilation canopies and we put these right immediately.

“We have now received a four gold star rating for the Croft Restaurant and a five gold star rating for Wilbers coffee shop.”

The trust added that it was commended for the current levels of food hygiene in the main kitchen at the University Hospital of Hartlepool and there were no other issues of non compliance with food safety regulations.