Outdated facilities are no excuse for a damning inspection of Aberdeen Maternity Hospital, according to the Scottish Health Secretary.
Alex Neil said the situation at the north-east’s premier baby unit was “unacceptable” – and the health board knew it.
Last week, the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate (HEI) slammed the hospital for blood-stained equipment and dirty wards.
Officials on three unannounced visits found issues with the neo-natal unit, operating theatre and procedure room. Inspectors discovered body fluids on walls, blood on bed rails, frames and mattresses, dust on ventilators and contaminated incubators and cots.
In the Scottish Parliament yesterday, north-east Labour MSP Richard Baker said the need to upgrade maternity services at NHS Grampian had contributed to the problem.
He asked Mr Neil: “What action is the cabinet secretary taking to ensure that the health board has the resources and support that it needs to put in place the much-needed new maternity facilities at the hospital?”
The health secretary replied: “I make it absolutely clear that there would be no excuse for what the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate discovered in any hospital, no matter its age. As NHS Grampian has accepted, what was found was certainly unacceptable.”
NHS Grampian would like to build a new maternity hospital if and when money becomes available.
Mr Neil told Mr Baker there was “an issue about the capital programme for either upgrade or replacement”.
But when the government received detailed proposals it would consider them.
He also reminded Mr Baker that the Scottish Government’s capital programme had been cut by 26% in the coming year.
A health board spokesman said: “NHS Grampian did not attribute the criticism contained in the HEI report to the age of the hospital.
“We were, however, clear that there are difficulties associated with maintaining infection control and other technical standards in ageing hospitals such as Aberdeen Maternity Hospital.
“It therefore remains our intention to put plans forward to the Scottish Government for a replacement facility when capital funding becomes available in the next few years.”