Sturgeon warns hospitals that there is no excuse for bad hygiene

By Amanda MacMillan

HEALTH Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has slammed bad hygiene in hospitals warning there is “no excuse” for staff not washing their hands properly.

Her remarks come after a report was published by the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate about hygiene standards in St John’s Hospital in Livingston.

Overall inspectors said the standard of cleanliness in 10 of the 11 areas inspected at the West Lothian site had been good.

But the report also found that some staff in ward 21 were not washing or cleaning their hands appropriately when moving between beds or entering and leaving the ward. Continue reading


Edinburgh warned of a HIV ticking timebomb as new cases rise

By Christine Lavelle

HEALTH experts are warning that Edinburgh could be facing a HIV ticking time-bomb, as more than 100 new cases a year are expected over the coming decade.

The number of new infections could jump by 10 per cent, bringing the city back up to the shocking levels seen during the 1980s.

It is believed the problem is now even worse than when it hit its height 25 years ago, because medical advances mean existing patients are living with the disease for longer.

There are 1,100 cases in the NHS Lothian area – with a tenth of these arising in 2010 alone.

Treating each patient cost the health service around £10,000, meaning health bosses are looking to source over £1 million each year to cope with the epidemic.

Health chiefs have cited complacency among the city’s gay community with regards to taking care of their own sexual health, and they believe hard-hitting messages are no longer getting through to people as the disease does not carry the same level of fear as it once did. Continue reading

Nicola Sturgeon meets babies and mums taking part in new project

By Amanda MacMillan

HEALTH Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has been meeting the first babies born to young mums taking part in a new US-inspired project.

The Family Nurse Partnership Programme supports first-time mums under 19 and is being tested in the NHS Lothian area.

The pioneering project is aimed at giving children a healthier start in life.

As part of the programme, seven family nurses visit expectant mums every one or two weeks during pregnancy and throughout the first two years of their baby’s life.

They offer guidance on child development, preventative health measures, parenting skills, breastfeeding, better diet information and advice for mothers on education and employment. Continue reading

‘Lazy’ Nurses left 87-year-old slumped in chair

By Oliver Farrimond

THE FURIOUS daughter of an 87-year-old woman has hit out at “lazy” NHS staff after they left her all night in a chair.

Eileen McColl, 61, accused nurses at St John’s Hospital in Livingston, West Lothian, of being “too lazy” to move her into the bed next to her.

Williamina Sandison was left with swollen legs and ankles after being left slumped in the chair for over 12 hours.

Eileen, from Drumshoreland in West Lothian, said: “Her legs and ankles were really swollen and sore because she didn’t have a stool to rest them on, and they’re still swollen now. Continue reading

Ivory Wave among new drugs replacing Mephedrone

By Oliver Farrimond

TWENTY people have been left recovering in hospital after taking a new “legal high” – which claims to be “the strongest party powder there is”.

Named Ivory Wave, the white powder is sold as bath salts and has left users suffering severe nausea, vomiting, anxiety and hallucinations.

NHS Lothian has since launched a special appeal to convince young people to avoid experimenting with similar drugs.

The news follows a crackdown by the UK government on “legal highs”, after the so-called “plant-food” mephedrone was linked to the deaths of a number of British party-goers.
Continue reading

Missing Holyrood Items Include Mass Storage Devices

By Andrea McCallum

THE SCOTTISH Government has had more than 1,000 security passes, 27 laptop computers, 20 BlackBerry devices – and a banana – lost or stolen over the last five years.

Figures revealed that memory sticks, hard drives and PC base units have also gone astray since 2005 – as well as 12 apples and a business suit.

And now the loss of mass data storage devices has raised fears over the possible threat to personal privacy and organisational security.

Tory justice spokesman Bill Aitken said: “Things have indeed come to a pretty pass when even the corridors of power are not immune to the acts of criminals.

“At the same time, it goes without saying that some of our essentially high paid civil servants could take more care of their property – especially taxpayers’ property.”

Other items reported lost or stolen include a guillotine, a jar of coffee, a kettle and a bottle of champagne.

Independent MSP Margo McDonald said: “Even a small number of lost security passes falling into the wrong hands could allow a more systematic theft to be carried out.”

She added that the losses “warrant some kind of investigation into the use of equipment like this”.

Public sector organisations have faced repeated criticism over losses of data and the potential risk to personal security.

NHS Grampian was censured by the Information Commissioner’s Office in September last year after three separate incidents.

Personal data of 200 patients and staff was found in a confidential waste bag, a laptop holding personal details of 1500 patients was stolen and an email containing sensitive personal information was distributed.

Memory sticks were banned by NHS Lothian after they lost a device storing 127 patients in June 2008.

And a Royal Navy officer from the Ministry of Defence was robbed of a laptop which contained the personal details of 60,000 Scots in January 2008.

Green MSP Patrick Harvie said: “The loss of potentially sensitive data relating to people or to policy decisions is a serious concern.

“Everyone is aware of high-profile data losses of this nature and the Scottish Government needs to be vigilant.”

LibDem justice spokesman Robert Brown said the level of lost or stolen items seemed “very high”.

He added: “Of course there are people in and about in terms of visitors and staff and contractors so to that degree I can understand how it can happen.

“But it does sound as though there needs to be tighter regulation on what people do with their laptop after hours.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The government takes the loss or theft of items from its buildings very seriously and has robust guidelines to help ensure items are kept secure.

“With regard to security passes, the percentage lost or stolen has halved since 2005.

“We continue to work to achieve the highest levels of security and work is under way to improve the security incident management process.”

Nursing agencies paid higher hourly rate than First Minister

By Rory Reynolds

NHS boards in Scotland are paying nursing agencies a higher hourly rate than the First Minister in a desperate bid to cover for staff shortages.

Health authorities across Scotland are throwing up to £4,500 per nurse per week at firms supplying temporary nurses in an attempt to keep staffing levels up.

And one trust even revealed that it paid up to £890 per shift for each nurse on public holidays – nearly 10 times the amount that a registered NHS nurse is paid.

It works out at up to £74 per hour for a single nurse and cost the NHS £12.9m last year.

Continue reading