Shut­down chaos af­ter hospi­tal leak

Health: Raig­more forced to can­cel 30 op­er­a­tions af­ter IT flood

The Press and Journal (Inverness) - - FRONT PAGE - BY CALUM ROSS

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

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