175 ops cancelled after Royal Lancaster Infirmary theatre fails safety test

An operating theatre at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.
An operating theatre at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.
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175 planned day surgery operations at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary have been postponed after environmental tests showed the air quality in one of its operating theatres was not of a high-enough standard to carry out certain procedures in a safe environment.

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust said the air quality problem in the operating theatre at the RLI arose after a crack in the ceiling was repaired. After the repair work, despite thorough and repeated cleaning, the air quality in the theatre did not improve sufficiently to allow operations to restart.

This has mostly had an impact on operations, for Ophthalmology and Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) conditions. These are being planned where possible at other locations, with the majority, which are cataract operations, being planned for theatres within the Westmorland General Hospital at Kendal. Any patients who have had their operations postponed have been contacted by UHMBT to apologise and explain the situation.

The Trust aims to have offered all affected patients a new date for their surgery by early April.

‘Foluke Ajayi, chief operating officer, UHBMT said: “We cannot risk the safety of our patients. The theatre is not safe to use as a conventional theatre because its physical condition has deteriorated.

“We do understand how distressing and worrying it is for patients where we have to cancel operations, and we do not make these decisions lightly.

“We are however working very hard to resolve the problem, and will ensure that we offer our patients an alternative operation date as soon as possible.”