Hospital buildings at high risk

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Borders MP John Lamont has claimed shoddy equipment at the Borders General Hospital is to blame for cancelled operations.

That claim comes after NHS Borders’ response to a freedom-of-information request by the Tories revealed that a number of its buildings have been revealed as being at high or significant risk due to a lack of maintenance.

John Lamont on his first day at Westminster,

John Lamont on his first day at Westminster,

Ventilation in the Melrose hospital’s operation theatre is deemed to be at high risk, as is its ageing laundry equipment. Eyemouth Health Centre is also in the high-risk category, with its flat roof needing replaced and its nurse call system requiring an upgrade.

An extensive list of buildings at significant risk includes the health centres at Galashiels, Selkirk, Melrose, Coldstream, Earlston and Kelso.

Electrical systems in them are said to be showing their age and work needs done on various internal and external items.

The Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk Conservative MP, who came under fire this week for voting to retain the pay cap for public service workers, said: “Staff at NHS Borders work incredibly hard, and these figures suggest some are doing so in increasingly problematic surroundings.

“I’ve raised the issue of the cancellation of operations at Borders General Hospital before, and this information reveals that some theatres and equipment are badly in need of repair, which will certainly be a factor in some of the cancellations.”

However, Cliff Sharp, medical director at NHS Borders, told the Southern: “No operations have been cancelled as a result of theatre ventilation systems.

“There is always an ongoing programme of maintenance and upgrading required in our buildings, which is prioritised via a risk assessment process, with patient safety being our first priority.

Medical compressors and vacuum pumps [which were also on the high risk list] were replaced during the 2016/17 financial year period.”

Mr Lamont added: “NHS Borders is being let down by a Scottish Government which has failed to properly invest in our health service.”

And fellow Tory, Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP, Rachael Hamilton, added: “The buildings in our NHS need to be up to a suitable standard to protect patient care and to ensure a safe working environment for staff.

“This information shows some buildings in the Borders are in a shocking state and there are real question marks hanging over the life expectancy of some.

“This issue hasn’t suddenly cropped up. The SNP has been in sole charge of health for the past decade, but has let this spiral completely out of control.”