SCANDAL OF THE BODIES STORED IN A WOOD HUT; Report condemns hospitals.
The shed, at the Ian Charles Hospital in Grantown-on- Spey, has no refrigeration or wash-hand basins.
The corpse-shed scandal was revealed in a new report by the Scottish Health Advisory Service.
The damning study of 10 south Highlands hospitals also highlights their lack of therapy for geriatric patients.
One patient , stuck in front of a TV and asked if she was enjoying it, replied: "No, I'm blind. I can't even see the thing."
Health watchdogs branded the standard of mortuaries at eight of the hospitals as "unacceptable" with only Raigmore in Inverness and Portree on Skye escaping criticism.
Last night, one politician condemned the standard of care as "Dickensian".
The report also called for urgent action at Lochaber Hospital after a consultant refused to fulfil his contractual duties there.
The Town and County Hospital in Nairn was singled out for being in poor condition with sub-standard facilities.
At Portree Hospital, the grounds were poorly maintained and the duty office was doubling up as a drug preparation unit, and the Belhaven Ward in Fort William came under fire for only cleaning its windows every two years.
The inspecting team of five, including two doctors, visited the 10 hospitals last August.
Their report says they found some areas short or devoid of nursing home and residential home places.
They also condemned the use of sheepskin rugs, heel pads and plastic sheets to try to prevent pressure sores for elderly patients.
Bowls and commodes were in use due to the lack of proper toilets.
Last night, Conservative Scottish health spokeswoman Mary Scanlon said: "I am shocked to hear about the report's findings.
"I think it is unfair to ask staff to work in such Dickensian conditions where there is not even any dignity or respect for the dead.
"It is insulting to expect patients in the Highlands and Islands to tolerate these levels of care.
"They have paid taxes all their lives and when they do die they should not be left in a wooden shed."
An Age Concern spokeswoman said: "Sadly we have found that this kind of treatment of patients is endemic throughout the whole of the NHS."
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|Publication:||Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||Feb 3, 2000|
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