Glasgow & West Scotland

Operations hit as Royal Alexandra Hospital without water

Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley Image copyright Google

Dozens of operations have been postponed at a busy Scottish hospital and 999 patients diverted elsewhere following a water supply problem.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (GGC) said a problem with discoloured water at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley emerged earlier this week.

Staff are using bottled water for all activities, including cleaning.

All non-emergency surgery has been postponed on Thursday and Friday. This affects 84 patients.

Scottish Water said the discoloured water appeared to have built up in the hospital's internal storage tanks.

It said further sampling was being carried out but it was believed the discoloured water was caused by naturally-occurring manganese.

A spokesman said this was harmless in the quantities commonly found in drinking water.

Safety priority

Dr Linda de Caestecker, director of public health at NHS GGC, said: "I want to reassure existing patients in the Royal Alexandra Hospital that they are safe and we have ensured the highest standards of infection control and patient care.

"Patient safety is our priority and our staff will continue to deliver the highest levels of care, despite the challenges they face."

Robert Calderwood, chief executive of NHS GGC said that he and his senior managerial and clinical teams would work around the clock with Scottish Water to ensure the hospital becomes fully operational again as soon as possible.

Mr Calderwood added: "The staff at the hospital deserve praise for their professionalism in caring for their patients in these trying circumstances."

The health board said that discoloured water over a period of time had caused a build up of sediment in the hospital's water tanks, resulting in very discoloured water coming from taps.

The issue was raised with Scottish Water earlier this week and both bodies are working to find a solution.

In the meantime, the hospital has been flushing its water supply system.

All elective surgery at the hospital has been cancelled on Thursday and Friday and 999 patients are being temporarily diverted to other hospitals in the health board area.

Scottish Water's chief operating officer Peter Farrer said: "The water which is entering the hospital from our network no longer appears to be discoloured, and in the meantime we are aware that the hospital is taking some precautionary steps."

He added: "The appearance of such discoloured water has been an occasional, seasonal issue in recent years in parts of Renfrewshire.

"To address this, we are carrying out a £16m upgrade of the Muirdykes Water Treatment Works, which will help tackle the issue of discoloured water caused by naturally-occurring manganese in the area.

"This is due to be completed in 2017. In the meantime, we will shortly be commencing a programme to flush water mains and help address the issue."

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