Dumbarton’s MSP has called on the First Minister to ensure there is an immediate investigation after pigeons were found roosting in a public area of the Vale of Leven Hospital.

The presence of the birds sparked particular concern given that cryptococcus, an infection derived from pigeon droppings, contributed to the deaths of two patients at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow earlier this year.

Staff at the Vale removed the birds after they were found following the Easter weekend and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board has carried out a clean-up.

In response to Ms Baillie raising the issue during First Minister’s Questions yesterday (Thursday, May 3), Nicole Sturgeon told the chamber: “I understand that pigeons were found in a public area of the hospital that was not in use at the time.

“The facilities team removed them immediately after the incident was reported and the room was then thoroughly cleaned with the products that are recommended for that type of incident.

“The steps that the board took to manage that incident were appropriate. Staff have been reminded to keep the windows closed, to ensure that it does not happen again.

“On the wider lessons to be learned and the on-going reviews around hospital infection arising from the situation in Glasgow, we will make sure that all appropriate lessons are fed into the reviews and that they are learned.”

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Following FMQs Ms Baillie told the Reporter: “I have called on the First Minister and the Scottish Government to ensure that there is an immediate investigation and review of infection control measures in our hospitals.

“Given the tragic deaths at the Queen Elizabeth University hospital, I was concerned to hear that pigeons were found inside the Vale of Leven hospital.

“Whilst I am pleased that the response was swift, local people were understandably concerned.

“I hope that the government and our health boards act quickly to ensure that this does not happen again and that the safety of patients is the number one priority.”

In January, a 10-year-old boy and 73-year-old woman died after contracting the fungal infection Cryptococcus at the Queen Elizabeth.

A non-public room, thought to contain machinery, was identified as a likely source and an investigation was launched.

Following the discovery of the pigeons at the Vale, NHSGGC insists that all measures have been taken to prevent a repeat of the incident.

A spokeswoman said: "Our facilities team responded promptly to a report of pigeons in an area of the Vale of Leven Hospital, which was not in use at the time.

The domestic supervisor attended and removed the birds.

"A thorough clean using the recommended products for this type of incident then took place immediately. The member of staff also wore the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment.

"It is a fact that large buildings in urban areas often attract a lot of birds and we take a number of measures to help reduce this.

"Our Facilities staff will continue to use pest control measures to reduce the presence of pigeons and we are also consulting with pest control experts to seek other methods of control.

"Learning from this has been shared widely with staff to remind them to close windows and prevent this from happening again."

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