Standardizingrules in all of Alberta'shealth regions, ensuring training is available and clarifying the roles of heath-care workers will help prevent infections at provincial hospitals, Health Minister Dave Hancock said Monday.
The initiatives were major elements of a plan Hancock released Monday following a review that began after problems with sterilization of surgical instruments were uncovered at St. Joseph's Hospital in Vegreville earlier this year.
Whilethe review did not reveal anyproblems as serious as those at St. Joseph's,Hancock said,there is a lack of consistency of infection control policies in the province.
"We need to have requirements in each of the regional health authorities to have the set-up within their authority so that they have persons responsible specifically for infection prevention and control," he said.
"Those persons have to have access to the senior levels of management, they need to have access to the board level and we need to have reporting mechanisms to show that's happening."
Liberal Leader Kevin Taft told CBC News those monitoring infection prevention need to report directly to the health minister.
Hancock should create an infection prevention "police force"that wouldhave the authority to suspend regional health boards if they are not following the rules, Taft said.
Dr. John Cowell, whoreviewed the problems in Vegreville as head of the Health Quality Council of Alberta, said he ispleased with the province's plan, butthe standards need to be developed quickly and pursued relentlessly.
"A strong understanding of why it is right and the fact that there will be periodic spot checks, and there will be consequences for failure if the standards are not being met. I think that is the way to go."