Hospital probes mystery illness

Health and safety officers are investigating a mystery complaint that sent staff at a Scottish physiotherapy department for treatment in A&E.

‘We are doing all we can to give staff the assurance they need that we are taking this very seriously,’ says a spokeswoman for NHS Highland. Physios were among a number of staff treated at Raigmore hospital in Inverness, on Friday 6 August, after feeling unwell while the hydrotherapy pool was being cleaned. Fears that they were affected by chlorine levels proved unfounded, according to NHS Highland.  ‘We couldn’t find any definite link between the pool and the symptoms people were reporting,’ says a spokeswoman for the board. ‘With chlorine, you’re looking for breathing difficulties or eye irritation. But people were complaining of feeling fatigued, nauseous or generally unwell.‘ The hospital’s health and safety team found no problem with the pool, which reopened the following Monday, she added. Test readings for chlorine levels were lower than normal. One staff member, not a physio, was admitted to hospital it was for a condition that turned out to be unrelated to the incident, the spokeswoman said. As ten out of 40 staff reported feeling unwell within a few days, the board is now investigating the possibility of a viral outbreak.

Graham Clews and Janet Wright

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