Mattresses Repaired With Tape Found In Glasgow Hospital Operating Theatre

2 November 2016, 11:28 | Updated: 2 November 2016, 11:36

Health inspectors found dirty and damaged mattresses in operating theatres during an unannounced visit to a hospital.

Staff from the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate (HEI) carried out an unannounced inspection of the theatre department at Gartnavel General Hospital in Glasgow.

Inspectors found mattresses and theatre equipment were damaged and had undergone makeshift repairs using tape or medical dressings.

The report states: "Three out of four mattress sections were damaged in one theatre and, in another theatre, a mattress section had been temporarily repaired with industrial tape.

"Damage to the integrity of equipment covering may result in liquid leaking into the core of the equipment.

"Tape, tape residue and damage to the integrity of equipment covering also prevents the effective decontamination (cleaning) of the equipment.''

Despite this, a cleaning check-list for the equipment was signed off and up to date.

The report adds: "We are not assured that theatre staff are aware of the risks of continued use of damaged equipment.''

The inspectors issued a requirement to the health board to ensure equipment in operating theatres is "safe and clean''.

The visit on August 25 was a follow-up to a previous inspection in November 2015 which made three requirements after finding an unlocked waste bin accessible to the public.

These were to ensure waste is disposed of correctly, to follow footwear decontamination procedures and to ensure theatre equipment is clean and free from damage.

The report said the first two requirements had been met but the latter, due to be addressed by January 2016, was still outstanding.

Inspectors met with senior NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde staff following the inspection to discuss a maintenance system for theatre equipment and were told all the damaged mattresses had been replaced.

Claire Sweeney, interim director of quality assurance at Healthcare Improvement Scotland, said: "We observed good staff practices in waste management and we found that the standard of cleanliness in the hospital was good. Staff were separating waste appropriately and most clinical waste was disposed of correctly.

"However, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde still needs to ensure that all reusable equipment used within the theatre department, such as mattresses, are clean and free from damage.

"We will continue to monitor the situation and will follow up on this at future inspections.''

A NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde spokeswoman said: "We were very pleased to note that the inspectors recognised the improvements we have made since their visit last November.

"Following the previous visit we put in place an action plan which has already addressed two of the inspectors' previous requirements.

"However, we recognise that there are still areas we need to address and have reassured the inspectors that the outstanding two requirements made by the HEI team will be implemented.''