Family of premature Edinburgh baby who found bug and stained bedding left ‘angry’ at Sick Kids cleanliness

NHS Lothian have apologised to a family of a premature baby who branded the cleanliness at the Sick Kids hospital “unacceptable”.

Wednesday, 27th November 2019, 8:03 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th November 2019, 8:46 am
The family were left angry after a big was found in their son's room

Fraser Gray, 27, and his partner Jessica Mitchell, 22, from Leith, had stayed overnight in the hospital after their son, Jackson, suffered complications due to being born seven weeks premature.

The family spotted a large cockroach-like bug close the skirting boards as well as black marks on bed sheets.

NHS Lothian, who run the Sick Kids, apologised to the family and said cleanliness is one of the “top priorities” for the health provider.

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Mr Gray said: “My partner was in overnight at the Sick Kids and she noticed the area that Jackson was sleeping in was not clean.

“The bed she was sleeping in had black marks on it, whether that was pen or something else I don’t know, and she saw a bug running past the skirting board where all the rubbish was as well.

“They cleaned the beds and the chairs but they didn’t clean the floors, that was not reassuring, especially due to the dirt mark on the bed.”

Mr Gray added that while parts of the hospital were clean, the ward he was staying fell below what he believed was acceptable standards and led to a stressful stay for the family.

Jackson, now aged nearly two months old, was suffering from breathing problems connected to bronchiolitis.

Mr Gray said he was particularly disappointed after his son received care at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary’s neo-natal unit which, he said, was much cleaner.

He added: “The cubicles were maintained but the wards were not clean.

“It was not nice to see this in a children’s hospital, it made me really angry.

“One of the midwives or nurses was tending to a child and she put him down and came over to our son and tried to fix his dummy without cleaning her hands.

“It led to us having a really stressful and bad time in the hospital.

“My main concern is that a hospital’s main priority is to stop infection and the fact that the cleaners are not keeping up with the cleanliness is unacceptable

Fiona Mitchell, site director of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, said that staff work “extremely hard” to maintain standards and added that improvement works are underway.

She said: “Hand hygiene and levels of cleanliness are among the top priorities of NHS Lothian and staff work extremely hard to maintain high standards and comply with standard infection control precautions.

“We have a schedule of improvement work underway because we recognise there are changes to be made to the current Victorian building, while we wait to move to our new facility.

“Despite these environmental challenges, a recent Health Improvement Scotland inspection commended high levels of care and hygiene. The inspection team, which will publish a report in January, gave initial feedback which highlighted outstanding patient care and cleanliness of the existing facilities and the positive attitudes they found in staff at all levels.

“I apologise to families and would reassure them that we have taken immediate action to review and reinforce our stringent cleaning and hand hygiene regimes.”