Damage found at Sick Kids Hospital in Edinburgh after unannounced visit

Health inspectors have uncovered damage to flooring, walls and paintwork at two hospital sites hit by the delay in moving to a new site on the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh campus.

Wednesday, 15th January 2020, 12:15 pm
Damage found at Sick Kids Hospital in Edinburgh

The unannounced inspection was carried out on the orders of Health Secretary Jeane Freeman who is seeking assurance of patient safety around infection prevention and control.

The team also found damage to ceiling tiles in the wards at the Department of Clinical Neurosciences (DCN) at the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, and found exposed wood panelling and peeling of sealant around shower trays at the Sick Kids.

A theatre inspection at the Sick Kids revealed equipment stored in an area with large amounts of dust on the floor and sterile instrument trays stacked on top of each other creating a risk that the packaging may become damaged or torn.

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Some child cot frames were coated with rust and damage making it difficult to clean them effectively and at the DCN one ward had lockers in use that were rusty and could not be cleaned properly.

In the high dependency unit a table used for nursing charts was rusty on the bottom part of the frame, with staff being told that the items had been condemned and replacement equipment had been delivered to the new build.

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This meant the existing hospital in Sciennes, near the Meadows remained in use despite final preparations being made for the move.

The latest expert report on problems at the £150m building revealed smoke dampers had not been fitted to the ventilation system in corridors serving sleeping accommodation, creating a risk of smoke spreading through ducting to affect escape routes.

The latest inspection to the existing sites took place between 22-24 October 2019.

Speaking of the report, Ian Smith, Head of Quality of Care, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, said: “During our inspection we found a number of issues including damage to flooring, walls and paintwork across both hospital sites, but we also saw that some areas of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children had recently been redecorated.

"Staff told us they regularly report issues and that they are dealt with in a timely fashion. We saw evidence that NHS Lothian has considered the necessary measures needed to continue to deliver services at both sites, until they move to new premises.

"Moreover, staff we spoke with told us that senior staff were visible on the wards to explain the situation and offer support and reassurance that the site would be maintained in order to provide an environment for safe patient care.”

“The patient and carer quotes within the report are particularly good to read. Comments such as “Everything is spotless” and “I have never seen such a clean hospital” really do reflect the hard work that goes on not just clinically, but by our domestic and facilities staff as well.

“The report picks up on damage to the fabric of the existing RHSC and DCN facilities and makes recommendations and requirements that we fully accept. Within both areas, we have implemented an improvement and maintenance programme to ensure that the facilities and equipment within them are fit for purpose, meet our patients’ needs and ensure consistency of quality care.”

The Royal Hospital for Sick Children is a 136-bed paediatric hospital in Sciennes, Edinburgh and provides medical and surgical care, A&E, haematology, oncology, day care and critical care.

The DCN at the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, has three wards, outpatient department, operating theatres and diagnostic services.

In March last year the hospital was struck by an outbreak of the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginos, found widely in the environment, including in soil and ground water.

This led to around 30 operations being postponed after a number of patients believed to be under five had been infected by the bug.

Lothian MSP, Miles Briggs, said: “Staff at Royal Hospital for Sick Children deserve full credit for their exceptional professionalism in what is a very challenging situation.

“NHS staff are the lifeblood of our health service and it is right that their hard work is acknowledged.

“This report reinforces the importance of getting the new Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Little France ready for patients, families and staff.”