‘Significant concerns’ over cleanliness at maternity unit

Cleanliness standards at Aberdeen Maternity Hospital have been slammed by inspectors and MSP Tavish Scott is calling on NHS Grampian to immediately carry out a deep clean of wards and equipment.

He is also asking the hospital to convene an emergency board meeting in response to the findings of a critical report by the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate (HEI).

According to the report, independent inspectors made three unannounced visits to the hospital during August and September. They raised “significant concerns” about the cleanliness of patient equipment and the hospital environment, including in the neonatal unit, used by many Shetland families, and theatre.

Inspectors first visited the maternity hospital on 21st August, and due to their concerns about the cleanliness in the neonatal unit, they carried out a follow-up inspection on 5th September, with another unannounced visit to the theatre and procedure room on 17th September.

During their initial visit, inspectors found three of the seven mattresses in the labour ward and two other maternity wards were contaminated with blood or other bodily fluids.

They also found contamination to incubators and cots, which were in use by patients in the neonatal unit, dust on the floor, monitor stands, and ventilator equipment in the neonatal unit’s equipment store and body fluids on the walls and ledges at the back of incubator spaces in the intensive care unit.

HEI inspectors also identified a number of problems with the storage of expressed breast milk at the hospital.

Mr Scott said Aberdeen Maternity Hospital’s failings were deeply disturbing and must be immediately addressed, especially as the health of vulnerable new-born babies is at risk.

He said: “Many Shetland families use this hospital. It plays a vital role in healthcare for Shetland new-born babies. This report is therefore very concerning.

“NHS Grampian must conduct a deep clean of wards and equipment at Aberdeen Maternity Hospital and ensure that these standards are maintained.

“The health board needs to quickly get to grips with the persistent problems the report has highlighted. The board’s chief executive must convene an emergency board meeting to ensure that NHS Grampian is doing everything it can to improve its procedures to meet the requirements and recommendations set out by the inspectors. We must all have confidence these matters are being immediately addressed.”

NHS Shetland chief executive Ralph Roberts said: “We are obviously disappointed to see the issues raised over cleanliness at the Aberdeen Maternity Hospital. We all recognise the importance of cleanliness and good standards of hygiene and I am pleased to see that NHS Grampian have tackled all the matters raised urgently. While NHS Shetland is not aware of specific concerns about cleanliness having been raised by Shetland residents we will discuss this report with NHS Grampian so that we can be assured that the issues raised have been properly resolved.”

Mr Roberts’ quote was added to this report on 30th October.


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