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NHS Highland completes investigation into Inverness-bound coronavirus samples found on A9

By Gordon Calder

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A medical bag was found at the side of the road on the A9.
A medical bag was found at the side of the road on the A9.

THE internal investigation into why Covid-19 samples being transported from Caithness to Inverness were found on the A9 near Dornoch has been completed.

NHS Highland confirmed the inquiry is finished and three recommendations have been made to try and ensure there is no repeat of the incident.

The health authority says it has taken steps to address the "unfortunate incident" and is "keen to draw a line under the matter".

It carried out the investigation after the samples – which were being taken by an NHS Highland van from Caithness General Hospital in Wick for testing at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness – were found on the road by a member of the public.

The samples were in a medical bag and understood to be vacuum-packed and intact. They were later taken to Inverness and tested for the virus.

A NHS Highland spokesman said: "We have concluded the internal investigation into this matter. A number of recommendations have been identified and actioned as a matter of urgency."

They include:

  • Rural general hospital laboratories keeping records of how many specimen bags are sent on each transport
  • All specimen bags being labelled one of three, two of three, so that drivers are able to identify if bags are missing
  • All specimen bags to be carried in cages within the main cargo area of the vehicles in the transport fleet

The spokesman stressed that at no point was there a risk to the public from the samples which were "packed properly and remained intact".

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