A ward at a community hospital in Peterhead will soon reopen following a nine-month closure due to legionella.
The bacteria was first detected in the hospital’s water supply in February this year, with traces still present at the end of August.
Tests continued to be carried out at the Peterhead facility after upgrades were made to the pipes.
The minor injuries unit was able to reopen earlier this year, but the 17-bed Summers Ward has been shut for about nine months.
Patients had to be relocated to Fraserburgh Hospital, about 17 miles away, during this time.
Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid raised concerns about patients, particularly the elderly and pregnant women, being forced to travel elsewhere to be seen for a number of months.
Now, Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership (AHSCP) has confirmed the Peterhead ward will reopen on Monday, December 18.
Peterhead ward to reopen following legionella outbreak
In a letter to board members, a spokeswoman said: “Since moving the ward to Fraserburgh in February, we have kept the situation under continual review and now, with the majority of the remedial work to the water system completed and with encouraging water test results, we believe we are in the position to move back.
“Stringent water testing has been taking place on site, and we are confident that both staff and patients can return to Summers Ward with no concerns surrounding the water supply.
“As you can imagine a great deal of preparation work has already taken place and there is still much work to do.
“However, this is very good news for our staff and patients, and we will take each step of the move with deliberation and care to ensure a smooth transition home.”
Jeff Shaw, north area partnership manager for AHSCP, added he was “delighted” Summers Ward could finally return “home”.
He said: “It has been made possible thanks to the diligent work of a great many individuals, who have pulled together in a bid to make the site as safe as possible for both patients and staff.
“I am sure the news will be welcomed by many, and we now hope to make a gradual return to normal.
“Finally, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to our colleagues at Fraserburgh Community Hospital, for their ongoing support during the entire process.”