By Lucy Ashton
More than half of Scotland’s hospitals have not been inspected in the past five years, according to “gravely concerning” new figures.
Healthcare Improvement Scotland’s log reveals that 36 hospitals across Scotland have never been inspected by the quango, while a further 29 haven’t been inspected in the last five years. The total of the two figures – 65 – comprises a majority of the country’s hospital.
Rural areas have been disproportionately impacted by the lack of inspections, with the bulk of the 65 hospitals being located in remote parts of the country.
One third of all hospitals that have never been inspected are in the Highland area, while just one in the whole of the Highlands has been inspected within the last five years.
Scottish Conservative health spokesperson Sandesh Gulhane, pictured above, has slammed this as part of “a depressing trend with this SNP-Green government”.
Sandesh Gulhane MSP said: “The fact that over half of hospitals across Scotland haven’t been inspected in five years is gravely concerning.
“Inspections play a vital role in reassuring patients and staff that their hospital is safe and operating as it should be.
“It is especially alarming to see that rural areas have been disproportionately affected – a depressing trend with this SNP-Green government.
“Those living in rural areas already face too many barriers to accessing healthcare. They should be able to take comfort in knowing that, when they do access it, they are receiving the best care at their local hospital. That goes for all patients across Scotland.
“At a time when our NHS is overwhelmed and hardworking frontline staff are under immense pressure, it is shocking that basic inspections aren’t being carried out to measure how they are coping.
“For too long NHS patients have suffered at the hands of the SNP’s dire workforce planning and mismanagement of our health service. It appears that under-resourcing extends to inspections too.
“Michael Matheson must take steps urgently to get a grip of Scotland’s failing inspections system.”
Since Healthcare Improvement Scotland was established in 2011, 36 hospitals across Scotland have never been inspected. This includes Chalmers Hospital in Banff, Blairgowrie Community Hospital and Castle Douglas Hospital. (Health and Safety Executive, Accessed 7 September 2023, link; Healthcare Improvement Scotland, Accessed 7 September 2023, link).
A further 29 hospitals have not been inspected in the last five years. This includes Dr Gray’s in Elgin, Aberdeen Maternity Hospital and Stobhill Hospital in Glasgow. (Healthcare Improvement Scotland, Accessed 7 September 2023, link).
In total, this means of the 125 hospitals in Scotland currently in use, 65 have not been inspected in the last five years, or at all. This equates to 52% of hospitals being under-inspected or un-inspected. (Healthcare Improvement Scotland, Accessed 7 September 2023, link).
Rural hospitals were unfairly impacted by lack of inspections. Only one hospital in NHS Highland, the Raigmore, had been inspected in the last five years, whilst 12 of the 36 hospitals that had never been inspected were in the Highland area. Similarly, 5 hospitals in the Tayside area had never been inspected. (Healthcare Improvement Scotland, Accessed 7 September 2023, link).
Despite concerning findings, several hospitals have not received follow up inspections. At University Hospital Crosshouse, patients were being cared for in mixed sex bays and nonstandard clinical areas which resulted in patients’ care, dignity and respect needs not being met. Similarly, at Lightburn Hospital in Glasgow, wards were too crowded, compromising patient privacy and safety. Despite this, neither hospital has received a follow up inspection in the last year. (Healthcare Improvement Scotland, Accessed 7 September 2023, link).