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Friday, 28 November 2014

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Patients are recalled amid hygiene fears

MORE than 350 patients who had endoscopies at Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary are being recalled because of concerns about the cleanliness of equipment used.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust has this week written to 357 people who had the procedures between May 20 and June 19 this year.

Concerns relate to two of the hospital’s three machines which are used to clean the endoscopes, the instruments placed inside the body during examination.

Although equipment was cleaned, it has emerged that the automated machines were not using the correct levels of disinfectant required.

The concerns relate to a specific group of patients whose endoscope was cleaned by these two machines.

The trust’s medical director Jeremy Rushmer has written to all of the patients affected. He stressed there is no need for anyone who hasn’t already had direct contact from the Trust to be concerned.

He said: “We are very grateful that our endoscopy team in Carlisle brought this issue to our attention so that we could take appropriate action as we are doing now. I would strongly reiterate that the offer of a blood test for certain patients is purely a precautionary measure and the risk of any infection from this type of incident is extraordinarily low.

“Nevertheless we take our duty of care to patients very seriously and felt it was important to write to these specific patients directly to make sure we offer the right support and reassurance.”

A dedicated helpline has been set up to answer patients’ questions and organise the appointments.

Experts from Public Health England have been brought in to work with the hospital.

Copeland MP Jamie Reed said: “Though the risk of infection for the patients who went through this procedure during the time in question is incredibly small, it is still very concerning. Patients and their families expect they will be safe when going into hospital and though the recall of patients is a precaution, those affected will be understandably worried – they deserve better than this.

He added: “I welcome the Trust’s openness on this matter and their commitment to working with the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority. Together, they must investigate what went wrong and ensure that all cleaning equipment is in top working order and is as safe as possible to give patients peace of mind.”

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