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Patient records feared damaged beyond repair after hospital plumbing leak

The leak at Dr Gray’s Hospital was discovered on January 15 (Jasperimage/Alamy/PA)
The leak at Dr Gray’s Hospital was discovered on January 15 (Jasperimage/Alamy/PA)

The medical records of several hundred patients are feared to be irretrievably damaged after a “significant” plumbing leak at a hospital in Moray.

The leak from a blockage in the plumbing system at Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin resulted in damage to documents in the the medical records storage area on the floor below.

Alasdair Pattinson, general manager of the hospital, said work is under way to establish how many records have been damaged beyond repair but it is thought several hundred may be affected.

NHS Grampian said there have not yet been any delays to patient treatment as a result of the incident, which was discovered last week.

The area was immediately closed to staff access, the source of the leak identified and fixed, and industrial dehumidifiers put in place to start drying the area out.

Mr Pattinson said the “significant leak” into part of the medical records storage area was discovered on Monday January 15.

He said: “The affected area has been deep cleaned and the process of drying the records is ongoing. We are still working to understand how many records have been damaged beyond repair at which point we will have a fuller picture.

“Once we have this information we will be in direct contact with those individuals affected. It is far too early to put an exact number on how many records this may be, but we suspect this will be several hundred.

“The leak came from a blockage in the plumbing system in the floor above. We have taken advice from health and safety, and infection prevention and control colleagues, and we are confident the risk to staff is being appropriately managed.

“Control measures, including the provision of appropriate personal protective equipment, are in place.

“There have not yet been any delays to patient treatment as a result of this incident.”

He urged everyone at the hospital to remember that “the only items which should be flushed down toilets are pee, poo, and toilet paper” as items such as paper towels, wipes or sanitary towels put plumbing systems under undue pressure and must never be flushed.

Mr Pattinson added: “I want to say how grateful I am to the medical records team, along with colleagues in domestic services and estates and facilities, for their hard work and prompt reaction to this incident.”