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Inspection finds Raigmore Hospital in Inverness needs maintenance but staff praised for response to coronavirus pandemic

By Val Sweeney

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Raigmore Hospital is in need of maintenance.
Raigmore Hospital is in need of maintenance.

NHS Highland has been instructed to maintain Raigmore Hospital in Inverness to enable effective cleaning.

It follows an unannounced Covid-19-focused inspection last month.

The findings, published by Healthcare Improvement Scotland, praised staff for their response to the pandemic and identified areas of good practice including safeguarding of patients and appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

But it also highlighted three requirements where they were concerned about the impact on patients including the need to ensure all wards are maintained or refurbished to allow effective decontamination.

In addition, NHS Highland must ensure that PPE is worn appropriately by all staff groups in line with the national guidance and that physical distancing between patients can be achieved in multi-bedded bay areas.

The report stated: "In the majority of wards inspected, the fabric of the building is in need of some repair and refurbishment to allow for effective decontamination.

"In some of the wards inspected, we saw there was wear and tear to fixtures and fittings.

"This included damage to showers, wooden fixtures, paintwork, flooring and ceiling tiles."

The inspectors noted some issues identified in a 2019 audit remained outstanding but were assured steps would be taken to address these.

The report also stated: "In the majority of wards inspected, we were told that nursing staffing levels were challenging.

"However, issues can be raised at the hospital safety huddle to enable a system-wide response to ensure the safe movement of staff.

"Additional resource could also be accessed through the nurse bank and agency staff."

Senior management told inspectors they were aware of pressures on staffing levels and were proactively taking steps to improve recruitment.

Inspectors also observed some non-clinical staff not wearing face masks appropriately.

Ian Smith, head of quality of care at Healthcare Improvement Scotland, said in all the areas inspected the standard of cleaning was good and the majority of patient equipment visibly clean.

"We saw systems in place to ensure that patients being admitted minimised the risk of Covid-19 being transmitted," he said.

"However, the fabric of the building must be maintained to allow for effective cleaning.

"In addition, where there is a need to increase the number of beds within multi-bedded bays, patients must be able to physically distance."

Pam Dudek, chief executive of NHS Highland.
Pam Dudek, chief executive of NHS Highland.

Pam Dudek, NHS Highland’s chief executive, said there were positive things to reflect on in the report and they were committed to ensuring standards were maintained and improved, with an action plan was being developed.

"Our colleagues working across all areas of the hospital had to change how they work to ensure that the environment is safe and secure for our patients and I want to thank them for all of their continued efforts," she said.

"It is encouraging that our staff feel that they are supported by their line managers and colleagues during what has been an exceptionally challenging period for everyone.

"We are only able to achieve the best standards of care for our patients when we pull together and it is heartening that our colleagues have been able to do so in such testing times."

Related story: Surge in Covid-19 cases puts Raigmore Hospital on Code Black

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