Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Surgeries cancelled after infection found at Edinburgh hospital

Western General Image copyright Google

Several surgeries have been postponed at an Edinburgh hospital following the discovery of a bacterial infection.

NHS Lothian said a small number of patients at the Western General were being treated for the infection.

The bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa was discovered in a shower and some taps in a ward in the department of clinical neurosciences.

Thirty elective procedures have been postponed as a "precautionary measure" between Monday and Friday this week.

The health board said decision was taken to ensure the "highest standards of patient safety".

It added that the "very small number" of patients found to have the infection were not linked.

They are being treated for the infection and are being closely monitored.

Safety priority

The board said the bacteria was common and rarely affects healthy individuals, but it could be harmful to patients who were very vulnerable to infection.

Prof Alex McMahon, director of nursing at NHS Lothian, said a decision to suspend surgery had been taken until more safety test results were returned.

He said: "We are sincerely sorry to patients and their families for the inconvenience and disruption this will cause.

"This is a purely precautionary decision, and it may prove to have been unnecessary when all of the results are returned, but patient safety must be the priority.

"We have contacted all of the affected patients directly and will provide a new appointment for each of them as quickly as possible.

"In the meantime, all necessary infection control measures are in place and the situation will continue to be reviewed and monitored very closely."

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is found widely in the environment, including in soil and ground water.

It thrives in wet places such as sinks, drains, taps and showers. It can be treated with antibiotics.