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Inspectors give verdict on Raigmore after unannounced visit to check Covid-19 response of Highlands' main hospital


By Hector MacKenzie

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Raigmore Hospital was praised across a number of areas for its efforts – but inspectors want to ensure the fabric of the building is maintained to assist cleaning.
Raigmore Hospital was praised across a number of areas for its efforts – but inspectors want to ensure the fabric of the building is maintained to assist cleaning.

INSPECTORS have praised the Highlands' main hospital for its efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 after an unannounced visit and called for the fabric of the building to be maintained to allow for effective cleaning.

Healthcare Improvement Scotland today published its report relating to an unannounced inspection visit to Raigmore Hospital, run by NHS Highland.

The inspection took place on June 15-17.

During the Covid-19-focused inspection, inspectors compared what they found against relevant current national Covid-19 guidance and existing Healthcare Associate Infection (HAI) standards.

The inspection considered the factors that contribute to the risk of Covid-19, or any other infections.

Ian Smith, head of quality of care, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, said: “In all the areas we inspected the standard of environmental cleaning was good and the majority of patient equipment was visibly clean. We saw systems in place to ensure that patients being admitted minimised the risk of Covid-19 being transmitted.

“However, the fabric of the building must be maintained to allow for effective cleaning. In addition, where there is a need to increase the number of beds within multi-bedded bays, patients must be able to physically distance.”

NHS Highland has welcomed the report which highlights a number of areas of good practice, including safeguarding of patients and appropriate use of personal protective equipment.

Pamela Dudek, NHS Highland chief executive, has welcomed the report. Picture: Gary Anthony
Pamela Dudek, NHS Highland chief executive, has welcomed the report. Picture: Gary Anthony
“There are a lot of positive things to reflect on in this report and we are committed to ensuring that we maintain and improve our standards. There are also requirements within the report that we must address and we are developing an action plan to ensure these are met.” - Pam Dudek, NHS Highland

Colleagues reported that they felt supported and informed throughout the pandemic as NHS Highland adapted systems and processes to ensure patients were cared for in a safe and secure environment.

Pam Dudek, NHS Highland’s chief executive, said: “We are pleased with the latest Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) report which highlights that Raigmore Hospital in Inverness has adapted to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our colleagues working across all areas of the hospital had to change how they work to ensure that the environment is safe and secure for our patients and I want to thank them for all of their continued efforts. It is encouraging that our staff feel that they are supported by their line managers and colleagues during what has been an exceptionally challenging period for everyone.

“We are only able to achieve the best standards of care for our patients when we pull together and it is heartening that our colleagues have been able to do so in such testing times.”

The HIS report found four areas of good practice including that systems were in place to ensure patients were assessed prior to admission to minimise risk of COVID-19 and strong infection control practices.

Inspectors also made three requirements where they were concerned about the impact on patients. The health board must ensure that all wards are maintained or refurbished to allow effective decontamination and ensure a robust audit process to ensure the environment is being well managed.

In addition, NHS Highland must ensure that PPE is worn appropriately by all staff groups in line with the national guidance and that physical distancing between patients can be achieved in the multi-bedded bay areas.

Ms Dudek continued: “There are a lot of positive things to reflect on in this report and we are committed to ensuring that we maintain and improve our standards. There are also requirements within the report that we must address and we are developing an action plan to ensure these are met.”

The following areas were inspected:

Acute assessment unit, COVID-19

Medical high dependency unit

Wards 2A and 2C

Wards 3A, 4A, 4C

Wards 6A, 6C, 7A, 10

The Children’s Unit

The report can be read here.


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