ERI cancels ops ‘due to lack of sterilised equipment’

ERI Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Little France. Picture: Greg Macvean
ERI Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Little France. Picture: Greg Macvean
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Health Secretary Shona Robison has been urged to send in a troubleshooter to NHS Lothian after the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh cancelled operations because it could not sterilise equipment.

More than 80 operations have reportedly been cancelled this year at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh because there were not enough trays of hygienic equipment.

Patients have been sent home because of the problem.

Scottish Conservatives shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said he was writing to Robison to demand a troubleshooter was sent in to fix the problem.

“It’s totally unacceptable that over 80 operations in NHS Lothian have been cancelled due to a lack of sterile equipment,” he said. “I have been made aware of serious concerns regarding the ability of the sterilisation unit to actually meet the needs of operating theatres, as well as poor staff retention rates and unacceptable cases of bullying.

“Patients are being directly affected and our health care professionals are being put in very difficult and unnecessary situations where they have to cancel operations.”

The problems surrounding sterilisation of equipment at NHS Lothian is believed to have been happening for two years.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “We are in contact with NHS Lothian, as with all health boards, and continue to support them to work through any issues with their elective capacity.

“Decisions to cancel planned operations are never taken lightly. Around 303,000 operations took place in NHS Scotland in the last year, with 2.4 per cent of planned operations cancelled due to capacity or non-clinical reasons. We’ve made it clear to boards that patients with the greatest clinical need should not have their operations cancelled.”

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