REVEALED: Dr Gray's sewage leak wrecks 'hundreds' of Moray hospital's medical files
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NHS Grampian has said hundreds of medical records are likely to have been destroyed by a sewage leak at Dr Gray's Hospital.
A "significant" leak in the hospital's medical storage area was discovered on Monday, January 15, the health board confirmed.
Hospital general manager Alasdair Pattinson said he expects that "several hundred" records will have been destroyed.
The damaged files are currently being dried out, he said, and added: "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."
No impact on patient care has yet been been felt as a result of the damage, Mr Pattinson claimed, adding that the NHS would be in "direct contact with those individuals affected."
Blocked plumbing above the medical records was to blame for the leak which, once discovered, led to the area being sealed off to staff.
The leak was then fixed before industrial dehumidifers were set up.
Mr Pattinson said: "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."
Staff involved in the cleanup efforts have been given safety gear and "the risk to staff is being appropriately managed", Mr Pattinson claimed.
"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," he said.
"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 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."
In the wake of the leak, Mr Pattinson urged "everyone – visitors, patients, and staff" to remember 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," he added.
"They put plumbing systems under undue pressure and should be placed in the appropriate available bin."