Sewage pours into brain surgery unit at Glasgow hospital

Picture: PA
Picture: PA
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BRAIN and spinal operations have been cancelled after raw sewage poured into a brain surgery unit at Scotland’s flagship hospital campus.

Hospital bosses have been forced to close one operating theatre and postpone non-emergency procedures due to the risk of infection from the plumbing leak in the recovery areas of the Institute of Neurosciences at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital campus.

Waste pipes burst in the ward above on Friday for the second time in weeks, according to a spokesperson for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (GGC).

Labour public services spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said the story would “turn Scotland’s stomach” and called for an urgent explanation from the Scottish Government as to what went wrong.

Union representatives blamed the incident on a long-standing design fault within the ageing unit, which is due to be replaced by a new £7 million theatre suite in 2017.

The health board apologised to those affected and admitted it was a frustrating situation for patients and staff.

Labour public services spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “This story will turn Scotland’s stomach. This is not the level of care we expect at Scotland’s flagship hospital campus, patients and staff deserve so much better than this.

“This week the SNP Health Minister [Shona Robison] has been trying to assure Scotland that the NHS is safe on her watch, but shocking stories like this completely undermine that. She must explain urgently what has gone wrong here.

“Last year the experts at Audit Scotland confirmed the SNP had cut the health budget and also revealed hundreds of millions of pounds worth of repairs to the NHS estate were needed.”

Elective procedures will be carried out elsewhere in the hospital while the problem is being resolved, an NHS GGC spokesperson said.

They said: “On Friday of last week, the recovery area, not the theatres, in the Institute of Neurosciences was affected by a leak from the pipes in the wards above.

“Regrettably, this was the second incident during the month of February and, on the advice of infection control colleagues, we have postponed some elective surgical procedures in the theatres whilst our estates staff conduct essential survey work to identify remedial work required.

“Two theatres are being used for emergency procedures, which are being carried out as normal.”