Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Operations cancelled and hundreds under threat at Raigmore Hospital after cracks found in theatre walls

Raigmore Hospital in Inverness remains open to essential visitors only for now.
Raigmore Hospital in Inverness remains open to essential visitors only for now.

Hundreds of operations in the Highlands are under threat after the main theatre complex at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness was suddenly – and indefinitely – closed yesterday.

It is the third time in just four months that all planned operations have been cancelled at the main hub hospital in the region.

The latest episode is the result of superficial existing cracks being discovered in walls during work to upgrade the theatre complex.

The closure, which could last well into next week at least, comes just over a week after dust contamination also shut theatres, forcing dozens of elective operations to be cancelled.

And last October operations were postponed as a result of a water leak damaging hospital computers.

Emergency operations have not been affected, as these can be carried out in the hospital.

NHS Highland chiefs last night apologised to patients affected.

A statement said: “As this [upgrade] work has progressed, unforeseeable issues have been identified within the existing building structure which has led to the necessity to cancel all planned operations.”

It stated that no structural issues were found, but concerns were highlighted relating to the superficial cracks on some of the theatre walls.

As a result, the clinical decision was made to stop all planned operations until further notice. The hospital can deal with around 30-40 elective operations a day.

Contingency measures have been implemented to ensure all emergency operations will continue outwith the affected theatre area.

Ron Coggins, clinical director for the surgical division at Raigmore, said: “It was not possible to foresee this complication, but I am reassured that we do have a plan in place to get our theatres operational as soon as possible.

“The clinical team have also started to look at our patient lists to prioritise the work that we need to do once our theatres are operational.

“We are examining all theatre capacity across all sites in Highland and are also in discussions with NHS Grampian and others to see how they may assist.

“We are truly sorry for the disruption and concerns this will have on our patients across Highland.

“I would like to assure patients and the public that senior clinicians will be prioritising all cancer and other urgent patients. I am also content with the plan we have in place to manage all emergency patients.”

He added: “At this stage I can’t say with certainty how long these theatres will be out of use but it will certainly be this week and also into next week.”

A spokesman for Graham Construction, contractor of the theatre upgrade, said: “This issue is related to the existing building structure, and is not a result of work taking place as part of the current theatre upgrade programme.”

‘The emotional and physical cost to patients must not be forgotten’

Highlands and Islands MSP David Stewart, Scottish Labour’s shadow health minister, expressed concern over the “emotional and physical cost” to patients as a result of the latest cancellations.

He said: “It must be really frustrating for patients and for clinicians that planned operations have been cancelled for a third time and for a substantial period.

“While I can see why this is necessary, given the unforeseen nature of the problem, it will seriously affect the hospital, both in terms of the costs involved to cope with the unplanned work and with the delay, and in terms of waiting times for patient operations.

“The emotional and physical cost to the patients affected should also not be forgotten with many already waiting long periods for their essential operations.

“This will definitely set the hospital back and cause a huge headache for all our hard working front-line staff who are already facing difficult circumstances.”

And Highland Conservative MSP Ed Mountain added: “NHS Highland seem to lurch from one crisis to another when it comes to operating theatres.

“The management must almost be on their final warning regarding delivery of care in the Highlands. They must get a grip and get those patients who have lost their slots back in to theatre as quickly as possible.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]