Raigmore in Inverness was among Scotland’s lowest spending hospitals when it came to cleaning last year, it has emerged.
Official figures detailing the amount of money spent on hospital cleaning were collated by the Scottish Conservatives in the wake of a child’s death at Glasgow’s flagship Queen Elizabeth Hospital linked to an infection caused by pigeon droppings.
According to the NHS figures, £34 per square metre was spent on cleaning at Raigmore last year. The figure was lower than that spent at the Queen Elizabeth, which spent £40, and lower than the Scottish average of £49.
Raigmore’s figure of £34 was the same as Ninewells in Dundee, which spent the least on cleaning of all Scotland’s major acute hospitals.
Stracathro in Angus was one of the few hospitals to have spent less than Raigmore with a bill of £32 per square metre.
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Earlier this week Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said a review would be carried out into the design and maintenance of the flagship Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
She said she was “confident” the board had taken all the necessary steps to “ensure and maintain patient safety”.
However, Scottish Conservative Highlands and Islands MSP Edward Mountain raised concerns about the lower spend on cleaning at some facilities.
He said: “We’ve seen the devastating consequences in Glasgow that can occur when hospitals aren’t cleaned and maintained properly.
“We can’t afford anything like that to happen in Inverness, and patients and staff will be concerned about this low level of spend.
“The SNP government needs to make sure NHS Highland has the resources it needs to make sure buildings are safe and hygienic.”
A NHS Highland spokeswoman insisted that the board complied with the Scottish national cleaning specification for hospitals.
She said: “We take the maintenance and cleanliness of our hospitals very seriously.
“Through our estates department we have a regular pest control inspection programme where all of our buildings are checked. In light of recent events further checks have been carried out and we are content that what we have in place is appropriate and fit for purpose.”
She added that all hospital areas were audited and recent data showed that Raigmore Hospital was in a “good state of cleanliness”.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Quite rightly, people expect hospitals to provide the highest levels of cleanliness and hygiene, and there are the most-thorough systems in place to ensure this is the case right across Scotland.
“We have increased total spend on hospital cleaning by just under £20 million, with the cost per square metre rising annually over the past five financial years.
“We refute the claim that any hospital in Scotland is not cleaned as thoroughly and efficiently as any other.”
Bill Alexander, the head of soft facilities management at NHS Tayside, said: “There are many variables which affect the cost of cleaning per square metre, particularly how often different areas are cleaned.
“Specialist areas such as theatres need to be cleaned more often than other areas within a hospital as set out in the National Cleaning Services Specification (NCSS). As some hospitals will have more specialist areas than others this will have an impact on the overall cost of cleaning at different sites.”