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Glasgow sterilisation centre closed

Friday 14th December 2018
A sterilisation centre was closed last month after failing an independent inspection.
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The importance of effective sterile services has been highlighted after a safety inspection led to the closure of a sterile equipment services centre in Glasgow.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has to cancel 53 operations in the wake of the closure of the Cowlairs decontamination unit. It had been shut after independent inspectors from Lloyds Register Quality Assurance found major failings.

While there were no question marks about the procedures being undertaken by staff, there were shortcomings in the fabric of the building, leading to dangers that the equipment being provided for operations might not be clean enough.

The health board commented that the centre would be re-opened "as soon as possible".

Although the board was able to carry on with some sterilisation work, using a second centre at Inverclyde and relying on help from neighbouring boards, it was forced to cancel a number of non-essential operations.

In a statement, it said: "The majority of surgery is progressing as planned.

"Unfortunately, we have had to notify a very small number of patients today that their operation has had to be rescheduled and arrangements are being made for these patients to be admitted as soon as possible."

The board added that it would be having decontamination work carried out as speedily as possible to ensure the centre could be up and running again. 

It is not the first time that operations at NHS hospitals in Glasgow have been cancelled because of sterilisation problems occuring at the Cowlairs Centre, which was deemed to be state-of-the-art when it was established in 2005.

In early 2013, more than 200 patients had operations at Gartnavel Hospital cancelled after a number of shortcomings were found. Medical staff claimed that some instruments had arrived in a damaged state and in other cases their wrappings had been torn, meaning the sterility of them could not be guaranteed. 

Written by Alex Franklin Stortford

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