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Full hospital services back 'at the end of next week'

The Cumberland Infirmary. Credit: ITV Border

Full services will resume at the Cumberland Infirmary at the end of next week, after a washing machine at the hospital caught fire.

The fire in the Sterile Services Department was brought under control by the fire service, but it caused smoke damage.

Some operations that were due to take place today have been postponed, and it was initially hoped that the department would re-open next Tuesday.

However, the extent of the damage means the department may not re-open before the end of next week, meaning more patients will have their surgery postponed.

Elective surgery will now be assessed on a day-to-day basis until the Sterile Services department fully reopens and all patients affected will be kept informed.

The Sterile Services team from the hospital have taken theatre kit to Dumfries Royal Infirmary to be sterilised and will continue to work there over the weekend.

North West Ambulance Service responded immediately yesterday as did NHS Dumfries and Galloway who have very kindly allowed us the use of their Sterile Services department.

I would like to offer my sincere apologies to any patients who have unfortunately had their procedure postponed today. We will endeavour to maintain as much of a normal service as we can over the coming days and we will ensure patients are kept informed.”

– Helen Ray, chief operating officer at the Trust

Clean up underway after Cumberland Infirmary fire

A clean up operation is underway at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, after a fire at the hospital.

Smoke damage is being cleared, and the hospital says full services are due to resume on Tuesday.

Many operations have been cancelled today, though some are still being carried out:

We are able to run a full non-elective emergency service in theatres and we are able to run today a small number of urgent elective cases for patients with cancer, patients who have a clinical priority.

We are undertaking the majority of those operations today."

– Helen Ray, Chief Operating Officer, North Cumbria NHS Trust


Non-emergency surgery cancelled at Cumberland Infirmary

The Cumberland Infirmary. Credit: ITV Border

Non-emergency surgery at the Cumberland Infirmary has been cancelled today, following yesterday's electrical fire.

Firefighters were called to the sterile services department in the Carlisle hospital, after a washing machine caught fire.

The callout came at around 4pm, and the blaze was put out by the crew using a hose reel jet, with two of them wearing breathing apparatus.

A high pressure fan was then used to ventilate the property.

The majority of patients, visitors to the hospital and staff in departments on the lower floors (lower ground and ground) of the hospital were evacuated as a precaution, but nobody was injured.

I would like to thank Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service, our staff and our PFI partner for their very quick responses. The fire alarm system worked well and our staff followed the appropriate evacuation process.

Our staff’s reaction has demonstrated the strong emphasis that we place on fire safety measures in order to protect our patients, staff and visitors.

We are currently assessing the impact of the fire and I can confirm that unfortunately all non-emergency surgery is postponed tomorrow and patients will be informed. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

– Helen Ray, chief operating officer at the Trust

Washing machine fire at Cumberland Infirmary

The Cumberland Infirmary. Credit: ITV Border

Firefighters have been called to the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, after a washing machine caught fire.

The callout came at around 4pm, and the blaze was put out by the crew using a hose reel jet, with two of them wearing breathing apparatus.

A high pressure fan was then used to ventilate the property.

Borders Hospital apologises to family of terminally ill man

Borders General Hospital Credit: ITV Border

Borders General Hospital has apologised after a damning report said a terminally ill man was shown a lack of compassion and received "unacceptable" nursing care.

An official investigation found that the patient received such poor care at the hospital near Melrose that he discharged himself and died at home three days later.

NHS Borders said it accepted the recommendations of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman report and it had apologised to the patient's family.

The report said the man, referred to as Mr A, was admitted to hospital with a heavy nose bleed and in considerable pain.

His partner, Mrs C, complained that while he was in the medical assessment unit his bedside oxygen equipment did not work.

She said he was not given adequate pain relief or his own medication and he was shown a lack of compassion by nursing staff.

The ombudsman upheld the complaint, adding that Mr A, who had lung cancer, was in pain "for considerable periods".

The investigation also found a number of "serious failings" in his nursing care which was "unacceptable and poor practice.

The ombudsman report said:

I am critical of the board for these failings and the lack of compassion shown to Mr A. I am concerned that he had such a painful and distressing experience, and I also acknowledge the upset and distress this caused to Mrs C.

– Ombudsman's report

It made eight recommendations, including that nursing in the medical assessment unit be reviewed to explore leadership and culture in the ward.

Evelyn Rodger, the health board's director of nursing, midwifery and acute services said:

We take complaints made against NHS Borders very seriously and treat each one on an individual basis. We have apologised to the patient's family for the distress caused. We recognise and regret the aspects of the patient's medical care and treatment that did not meet expected standards and will take what has been learned from this experience to improve our services in the future.

– Evelyn Rodger, the health board's director of nursing, midwifery and acute services

Open letter penned by West Cumbria A&E bosses

West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven Credit: ITV Border

Cumbria's health leaders have written an open letter saying they are fully committed to a 24/7 Accident and Emergency Department at the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven.

Earlier this year concerns emerged about the future of emergency care in West Cumbria. NHS leaders insist A&E is non negotiable although they admit maintaining the service will be a significant challenge.


Temporary reprieve for Stranraer dementia unit

Darataigh dementia unit. Credit: ITV Border

A Stranraer dementia unit that was suddenly closed to patients in September has been given a temporary reprieve.

NHS bosses say repairs will be carried out to the boiler at the Darataigh facility, so it can accept admissions during a six-month consultation period on its future.

Since the closure patients using Darataigh have been transferred 75 miles to Dumfries.

Borders hospital ward remains shut by norovirus

Borders General Hospital. Credit: ITV Border

Ward Four at the Borders General Hospital remains shut, because of a norovirus outbreak.

NHS Borders says the situation is being managed by its Infection Prevention and Control Team, with support from frontline colleagues.

I would like to thank the public for their co-operation in limiting visits to the hospital whilst norovirus is present.

Over the weekend visitors to Ward 4 remain strongly discouraged, and the general advice is to stay away from any hospital ward if you or anyone in your family has experienced symptoms of diarrhoea and/or vomiting in the past 48 hours.”

– Evelyn Rodger, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Acute Services

Norovirus is one of the most common causes of diarrhoea and vomiting illness. It is very infectious and spreads quickly between people. This is why outbreaks happen in hospitals where a number of people are sharing facilities. However it doesn’t just occur in hospitals, and can start abruptly and spread quickly through communities.

It is vital to protect yourselves and your loved ones from catching this unpleasant virus. Patients, visitors and staff can help minimise the spread by complying with instructions given by staff and paying attention to the signs at the entrances to the hospital and wards.”

– Dr Ed James, Consultant Microbiologist

Westmorland radiotherapy decision 'three months overdue'

Tim Farron Credit: PA

Cumbrian MP and Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has written to the Health Secretary calling for a decision on bringing radiotherapy services to Kendal's Westmorland General Hospital to be made as soon as possible.

He says a government review into radiotherapy provision is now three months overdue:

Local people have overwhelmingly backed this campaign, and want to see a decision reached. The government cannot allow this review to drag on.

At the moment, South Lakes residents regularly have to travel for hours to access essential radiotherapy services. People living in rural areas like South Cumbria deserve the same access to radiotherapy services as those in other areas, and I will continue to fight for radiotherapy services here in Kendal.”

– Tim Farron MP
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