ANOTHER crisis at Raigmore Hospital has led to the cancellation of all operations – for some days.
The news was just announced this afternoon and there is no indication at this stage of exactly how long the theatres will be out of use.
A hospital spokesman said: “It will certainly be this week and also into next week.”
A local MSP instantly accused the region’s health board of “staggering from one problem to another”.
In a statement, hospital managers said work was ongoing to upgrade the theatre complex at Raigmore and that, as the work had progressed “unforeseeable issues” had been identified prompting a decision to cancel all planned operations.
“An inspection carried out by structural engineers confirmed there are no structural issues but concerns have been highlighted relating to superficial cracks on some of the theatre walls within the main theatre complex,” it said.
“As a result, the clinical decision was made to stop all operations within the theatre complex until further notice.
“Contingency measures have been implemented to ensure all emergency operations will continue as normal but out-with the affected theatre area.
“All theatres in the main theatre complex have been assessed and work is underway to getting them fully operational as soon as possible.
“Work already completed shows that the ventilation system is working to the required standard. Air sampling and microbial testing has been carried out and will ongoing as each stage of the work is complete and prior to commencing operations in the affected area.”
Mr Ron Coggins, clinical director for the surgical division at Raigmore Hospital, said: “It was not possible to foresee this complication but I am reassured that we do have a plan in place to get our theatres operational as soon as possible.
“The clinical team have also started to look at our patient lists to prioritise the work that we need to do once our theatres are operational.
“We are examining all theatre capacity across all sites in Highland and are also in discussions with NHS Grampian and others to see how they may assist.
“We are truly sorry for the disruption and concerns this will have on our patients across Highland.
“I would like to assure patients and the public that senior clinicians will be prioritising all cancer and other urgent patients. I am also content with the plan we have in place to manage all emergency patients.”
David Park, chief officer for NHS Highland and responsible for overseeing all health nd social care including hospitals in north Highland, said: “All teams within aigmore Hospital are working very closely to resolve this situation and our eams across Highland are in close contact and looking at ways in which the impact to patients is minimised.”
Highlands and Islands Conservative MSP Ed Mountain: “This is yet a further unacceptable failure by NHS Highland.
“They seem to stagger from one problem to another. One has to wonder what will happen next.
“I don’t believe the management of NHS Highland are providing the leadership the hard working staff need.”
His Labour counterpart David Stewart, the shadow health minister, said: “It must be really frustrating for patients and for clinicians that planned operations have been cancelled for a second time and for a substantial period.
“While I can see why this is necessary given the unforeseen nature of the problem, it will seriously affect the hospital both in terms of the costs involved to cope with the unplanned work and with the delay – and in terms of waiting times for patient operations.
“The emotional and physical cost to the patients affected should also not be forgotten with many already waiting long periods for their essential operations.
“This will definitely set the hospital back and cause a huge headache for all our hard working frontline staff who are already facing difficult circumstances.”