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Concerns over endoscopy hygiene at Scottish NHS hospitals

Published on 27/09/2010
People in Scotland may be tempted to seek private medical cover following a report raising concerns over hygiene.

An investigation by health watchdog NHS Quality Improvement Scotland found "breaches" in the adequate decontamination of equipment used in endoscopy tests, which use a flexible tube to pass a camera into the gut or bowel.

Services at a number of hospitals in Aberdeen, Inverness, Glasgow and Kirkcaldy were heavily criticised, with some found to be operating on "minimum acceptable standards".

Problems found by inspectors included staff failing to sterilise equipment properly and patients being treated on understaffed and mixed-sex units.

Speaking to the Scotsman, Dr Jean Turner, executive director of the Scotland Patients' Association, said: "This is dreadful. People are being treated like cattle. This points to people being processed and that's what happens when you have waiting time targets."

Dr Alan Robertson, Scottish council member of the British Medical Association, added: "Decontamination standards are set for a reason. Waiting targets will put pressure on hospitals because there is a limited number of staff and rooms but you have to get the balance right."

Endoscopies are commonly used to diagnose and treat certain cancers, as well as numerous other conditions including urinary tract infections and stomach ulcers.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2010


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