The news that operations have had to be cancelled at Gartnavel Hospital due to the lack of sterile equipment supplied from the central decontamination unit at Cowlairs follows hard on the heels of the warning by Professor Dame Sally Davies, England’s Chief Medical Officer of the growing resistance of organisms to existing antibiotics.
It emphasises, if such an emphasis is required, of the absolute necessity of operating staff being assured of the sterility, and suitability,of instruments for use in theatres.
As the unit supplies equipment to several hospitals within NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, it is unlikely that the problem is confined to Gartnavel. That medics are reported as having complained about damaged and potentially non sterile equipment for years is surely a matter of grave concern and calls into question the issue of quality control at the decontamination unit.
An unnamed spokeswoman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is quoted as saying that “an on-going enhanced quality assurance process has been implemented”. It begs the question as to why action had not been taken before the stage had been reached of operations being cancelled.
The clang of stable doors being closed is a poor alternative to the principle of prevention being better than cure.
BBC Scotland has done a report on adverse incidents in hospitals in Scotland. There is some interesting reading here, but it is disappointing that many of the hospitals chose to withhold information. Check it out nonetheless.
It’s just as well they didn’t send in the bulldozers. NHS Lothian is set to re-open the Royal Victoria to help them deal with increased admissions during the winter months, because the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh can’t quite cope. Maybe it might be an idea to keep it open afterwards? A hospital is for life, not just for Christmas..