'Several hundred' patient records destroyed in hospital sewage leak

Dr Gray's Hospital in Elgin said the leak came from a blockage in the plumbing system above a storage area.

‘Hundreds’ of patient records destroyed in sewage leak at Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin, Moray iStock

Hundreds of patient records are thought to have been destroyed after a blocked pipe caused a sewage leak at a hospital in Moray.

Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin was made aware of the “significant” leak on Monday, January 15, which came from a blocked pipe in the plumbing system in the floor above the storage area.

Following the discovery, the area was sealed off to staff and industrial dehumidifiers brought into to dry out the area before being deep cleaned.

Alasdair Pattinson, general manager at the hospital, said work was still under way to determine how many medical records were damaged, but it is expected “several hundred” have been destroyed beyond repair.

Dr Gray's Hospital, Elgin, MorayDr Gray’s Hospital

Mr Pattinson said: “A significant leak into part of the medical records storage area at Dr Gray’s Hospital was discovered on Monday, January 15. The area was immediately closed to staff access, the source of the leak identified and fixed, and industrial dehumidifiers put in place to start drying the area out. The affected area has been deep cleaned and the process of drying the records is ongoing.

“We are still working to understand how many records have been damaged beyond repair at which point we will have a fuller picture. Once we have this information we will be in direct contact with those individuals affected. It is far too early to put an exact number on how many records this may be, but we suspect this will be several hundred.

“The leak came from a blockage in the plumbing system in the floor above. We have taken advice from health and safety, and infection prevention and control colleagues, and we are confident the risk to staff is being appropriately managed. Control measures, including the provision of appropriate personal protective equipment, are in place.

“There have not yet been any delays to patient treatment as a result of this incident. I would also like to remind and make a plea to everyone – visitors, patients, and staff – that the only items which should be flushed down toilets are pee, poo, and toilet paper. Items like paper towels, wipes or sanitary towels must never be flushed. They put plumbing systems under undue pressure and should be placed in the appropriate available bin.

“I want to say how grateful I am to the medical records team, along with colleagues in domestic services and estates and facilities, for their hard work and prompt reaction to this incident.”

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