Edinburgh's Sick Kids hospital slammed over cleanliness

Health inspectors found issues with cleanliness that had not been addressed since a previous visit to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh after they arrived unannounced.

Thursday, 29th November 2018, 7:33 am
Updated Thursday, 29th November 2018, 7:40 am
A general view of the The Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh. Picture: Jon Savage

In a damning report, the Healthcare Improvement Scotland watchdog discovered that issues with dust in the operating theatre corridor, and equipment stored there, “remained unresolved”.

The watchdog also found removable dirt remained on window frames in one of the wards, and asked NHS Lothian to provide them with an action plan about actions on outstanding issues from the last visit in Febraury 2016.

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Ian Smith, head of quality of care, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, warned that to improve care the health board “must ensure” all areas including the theatre environment, storage areas and equipment are clean and dust-free. He also told NHS Lothian that any damaged equipment needs to be put in a “good state of repair” or replaced.

The opening of the new £150 million Sick Kids Hospital has been beset with delays after failing to meet the required standards, with a number of issues still to be resolved.

Contractors were expected to hand over the building to NHS Lothian at the end of last month. But it is understood the project director emailed staff to say there was still no date for its completion and it would open only when ready.

Professor Alex McMahon, nurse director, NHS Lothian, said they recognised that the existing Victorian hospital building at Sciennes is “no longer fit for purpose” and there are things that can be improved, such as a lack of storage resulting in cluttered areas.

He added: “We welcome the report from the Healthcare Improvement Inspectorate and we are pleased that many areas of practice have been singled out for individual praise, including noting that staff are working hard to maintain high standards and comply with standard infection control precautions. We hope to move to our brand new state-of-the-art facility as soon as it is complete.

“We have implemented an urgent action plan for the current hospital building to improve cleaning in the areas identified.”

Scottish Conservative health spokesman Miles Briggs said: “With patients, families and staff unsure of when the new Sick Kids Hospital at Little France will be opened, it is ­necessary that high standards of hygiene are maintained at the current Sick Kids hospital in Sciennes.”