Hygiene fear halts Inverness toddler’s operation

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A TODDLER had her operation cancelled at the very last moment after the surgeon due to carry out the procedure had concerns about the hygiene of equipment at a Highland hospital.

Lois Munro, of Inverness, was due to undergo an exploratory endoscopy under general anaesthetic at the city’s Raigmore Hospital last Friday to examine a problem with her vocal cords and the cause behind her vomiting mucus.

However, the operation was cancelled after it was discovered that the bags used to transport surgical equipment from the sterilisation unit to theatre had been damaged.

The 16-month-old’s mother, Pauline, said: “After speaking to the consultant who was due to undertake the procedure, it appears bags which contained the equipment had holes in them. This included back-up equipment.”

The child will now have to wait until 19 April before the procedure can finally be carried out.

Lois’s parents have sent a letter of complaint to Garry Coutts, chairman of NHS Highland, highlighting the disruption and upset they felt at the last-minute cancellation, and raising concerns that this was not an isolated incident.

Highlands and Islands MSP John Finnie has also entered a written question to the Scottish Government asking how many operations were cancelled in the Highlands due to equipment not being sterilised properly.

A spokesman for NHS Highland said that such sterilisation was carried out in-house by the hospital.

He added: “If we identify anything which is not correct and cannot be corrected, then our protocol is to cancel and re-schedule as soon as possible.

“This happens for a very small minority of procedures.”