Shutdown chaos after hospital leak
Health: Raigmore forced to cancel 30 operations after IT flood
DOZENS of operations and procedures were cancelled yesterday after a flood at the north’s biggest hospital.
Rainwater leaked into a basement containing Raigmore Hospital’s computer servers overnight, with the system being shut down amid electrical safety fears.
Staff worked throughout the day to fix the problem, and moved to “paperbased” contingency plans, but about 30 operations and up to 60 other procedures were postponed.
NHS Highland said safety was not compromised during the shutdown but apologised to patients.
Last night, Dr Ken McDonald said: “We have seen a gradual improvement over the day and I would anticipate that we will not have as much disruption tomorrow as we have had today.”
The north’s biggest hospital was thrown into chaos yesterday after a basement flood led to its computer systems being shut down.
About 30 operations and up to 60 other procedures were cancelled at Raigmore in Inverness – and further disruption was expected today.
A build-up of rain water on a flat roof on Sunday night and Monday morning led to a leak into a basement room housing computer servers.
The servers were switched off for safety reasons, with NHS Highland resorting to “paper-based” contingency plans instead.
While most clinical ap- pointments were unaffected and emergency operations went ahead, about 30 elective operations had to be cancelled, as well as many endoscopy appointments.
Last night, NHS Highland apologised to patients and said the majority of the systems had now been restored.
Dr Ken McDonald, associate medical director at Raigmore, said: “Rainwater has come through a flat roof which has flooded the basement area which housed our computer IT servers. A decision was made to shut these down due to electrical safety.
“This has impacted on a number of computer and telephone systems which has made it difficult for medical and nursing teams in accessing X-ray and lab reports.
“Unfortunately we have had to cancel some operations and clinic appointments as a result of this.
“I would like to apologise to our patients for the inconvenience and we will reschedule their appointment or procedure as soon as we can.”
The health board said safety was not compro- mised and urged patients to attend scheduled appointments unless contacted by staff.
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP David Stewart said: “I’ll be interested to hear what caused this flooding but I am sure frontline staff will be doing all that they can to mitigate the effect on patients.
“I totally sympathise with those affected and sincerely hope that people going for surgery or outpatients appointments will find minimum disruption.
“The weather was quite severe at the weekend and increasing rainfall and changes to rainfall patterns mean, unfortunately, we will be hit by more flooding in the future, causing more damage to property and disruption to services.”
It emerged earlier this year that NHS Highland is hoping to secure £76million for a major “redevelopment” of the ageing hospital over the next 10 years.
A further £12.5million has been set aside to instal new cladding on the main tower block.
The proposed revamp would represent the biggest investment at the site since it was built.
The money – which would be subject to a bid to the Scottish Government – is in addition to a £28million upgrade of critical care wards already under way, and a £27million elective treatment centre planned for Inverness Campus.
“A decision was made to shut down the servers due for electrical safety reasons”
DISRUPTION: Heavy rain led to a flood in a basement at Raigmore housing computer servers which had to be switched off for safety reasons