NHS IT, Records and Data

28.03.19

Mould identified as cause of Edinburgh infection linked to heart surgery deaths

Three different types of mould have been identified as the cause of the hospital infection linked to the deaths of heart surgery patients in Edinburgh, but the source still has not been found according to ministers.

Health secretary Jeane Freeman confirmed in a statement to the Scottish Parliament that six patients so far have contracted rare fungal infections at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (RIE), and that some have since died.

Earlier this week, NHS Lothian wrote to nearly 200 patients who had undergone heart surgery in the last six months at the RIE, warning them of the potentially fatal infection risk which it said was “very low.”

Planned operations this week have also been cancelled to allow for intensive cleaning of the operations theatres.

Freeman said that two of the four closed operating theatres have now reopened, but she confirmed that the source of the infection is yet to be identified.

A total of 26 patients have responded to the letters, 19 of whom have been passed on to their local health board for further consideration.

The letters were sent after an Incident Management Team was convened to look into an unusual case of heart valve infection.

Following an extensive review of patients’ infection records since 2015, the team found that six patients who had the surgery between March 2017 and November 2018 were affected by unusual infections caused by microorganisms which may have been picked up during surgery.

The trust has not said exactly how many of these patients have since died, but said the letters were just a precaution.

The health secretary Freeman told Holyrood: “I completely understand that for patients who have been contacted by the board this will have been a worrying time.

“But, let me repeat, the board were right to undertake a review of cases and inform patients they identified as a result of that exercise.

“No patient wants to receive a letter similar to those sent by NHS Lothian last week.

“But I hope that what I've outlined today provides reassurance that these letters form part of a proactive, precautionary infection control and risk management system here in Scotland.

“Not all healthcare associated infections are preventable, but we do have dedicated professionals and a rigorous system, focused on limiting and controlling them.”

This follows a number of high-profile infection related incidents in Glasgow, where prosecutors are investigating the death of a 10-year-old boy and a 73-year-old woman who contracted infections linked to pigeon droppings.

Freeman said “"We need to ask, were these types of infection always existent but masked by more common things like MRSA?

“Could it be that as these types of infection are going down, others are emerging? We don't know.”

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

NHS to provide mental health outreach for rough sleepers

14/10/2019NHS to provide mental health outreach for rough sleepers

Towns and areas with ‘homeless hotspots’ are set to receive NHS investment in specialist mental health care. The NHS will provid... more >
NHS Providers: New mental health taskforce welcome

11/10/2019NHS Providers: New mental health taskforce welcome

Following the announcement by NHS England of a new taskforce to improve specialist mental health services, NHS Providers have praised t... more >
NHS taskforce aimed at young people’s mental health, learning disability and autism care

10/10/2019NHS taskforce aimed at young people’s mental health, learning disability and autism care

NHS Chief Simon Stevens has announced today (October 10) the setting up of a new taskforce to improve current specialist children and young peopl... more >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated th... read more >

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us th... more > more last word articles >

the scalpel's daily blog

Providers are delivering – and here’s how

09/10/2019Providers are delivering – and here’s how

It has been a challenging few years for healthcare providers, yet they have continued to deliver high quality care despite the conditions. Adam Brimelow, director of communications at NHS Providers, outlines just how providers are managing to deliver despite the financial squeeze.   It is inevitable that the NHS’ fun... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

comment

NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental health and wellbeing. As the best rugby players in the world repr... more >
Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Being on the receiving end of some “thanks” can make communit... more >
Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

13/06/2019Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

Nurses have been named as the most under-appreciated public sector professionals as new research reveals how shockingly under-vauled our NHS, edu... more >
Helpforce to launch training programmes for NHS volunteers

10/06/2019Helpforce to launch training programmes for NHS volunteers

Kay Fawcett OBE, clinical advisor and education lead at Helpforce, and Lynn Twinn, talent development consultant, outline the new national traini... more >

interviews

NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

17/09/2019NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

Over 20 years ago, a Teesside hospital cleaner put down her mop and took steps towards her midwifery dreams. Lisa Payne has been delivering ... more >
How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >
RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

24/10/2018RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

The president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has told NHE that the college’s new headquarters based in Liverpool will become a hu... more >
Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

24/01/2018Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

The NHS plays a part in the country’s wellness – but it’s far from being all that matters. Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Pu... more >

health service focus

View all News