Hospital unit reopens for operations

The Day Case Unit
The Day Case Unit

A HOSPITAL unit closed in September after rust patches were found on sterilising machinery has reopened today (Tuesday).

Endoscopy sessions at the Day Case Unit at St Luke’s Hospital in Leicester Road were suspended to investigate the cause of the rust, which had appeared on the machinery casing.

The problem was eventually traced to the incompatibility of a manufacturer-recommended salt-based disinfectant used to clean the machinery.

It reacted with some metal components of the equipment, causing the rusting.

The salt-based disinfectant has now been replaced with a suitable alternative disinfectant that will not cause rusting with the replaced metal components, said the health trust.

Health care staff have been running extensive tests ahead of the reopening and five people are booked in for operations today.

Richard Lyne, general manager of Leicestershire County and Rutland Outpatient, Diagnostics and Day Case Services, said: “We are delighted that the endoscopy service at St Luke’s are resuming.

“We are confident that the problems have been resolved by the manufacturers and look forward to providing endoscopy services on site again. We’d like to thank patients for their understanding and apologise for any inconvenience caused to them over the past weeks “Our first priority has to be patient safety, and though patient care was never compromised, we had no choice but to call in the manufacturers and offer alternative appointments to patients at other local hospitals. Thankfully all that is resolved now and normal services can resume at St Luke’s.”

Endoscopy enables a tiny fibre-optic camera to be inserted inside a person’s body to investigate problems inside their bladder, intestine and stomach, for example, with images relayed onto a video screen.

Sometimes endoscopes also allow the operator to retrieve a small sample of the area being examined, in order to view the tissue under a microscope.

The unit at Harborough has enjoyed a troubled start.

It was meant to be up and running in the summer of 2010 but the project was beset by numerous delays.

Built by Modcon UK in stages the Middle East, it sat for weeks at Tilbury Docks before it was finally craned into position in Harborough in spring 2011.

But work had come to a complete halt by May and Modcon UK went into liquidation shortly afterwards.

Builders Hallam Contractors were appointed in September 2011 to finish the job, and the unit opened in January 2012.

It had been open less than nine months when operations were suspended following the discovery of the rust patches.