A Lothians MSP has revealed some shocking figures for those who have died from a Hospital Acquired Respiratory Infection (HARI).
Neil Findlay has revealed that figures have risen year on year in NHS Lothian between 2013-2017.
Between 2013-17, 3768 patients in NHS Lothian have ended up with some form of HARI. Of that total, 717 people have died with a HARI listed as a contributory factor on a death certificate.
The MSP said: “NHS Lothian is one of the biggest health boards, but it is concerning to see numbers continually rising.
“The problem can only get worse if the staffing crisis is not dealt with in NHS Lothian.
“Scottish Government cuts and increased pressure on staff has meant NHS Lothian nursing vacancies have increased by 68 per cent in the last five years.
Professor Alex McMahon, NHS Lothian, said: “The figures give the total number of patients who were treated for all lower tract respiratory infections, which includes seasonal viral infections and even more serious conditions, such as pneumonia.
“We do not formally collate numbers of respiratory infections acquired in hospital so we could not say whether a bug developed in the community, a care home or hospital.
“The increasing age and complexity of many patients makes them susceptible to chest infections - both in the community and in those receiving healthcare for multiple and diverse reasons.
“It is also well recognised that an increased incidence of chest infections and pneumonia due to a variety of micro-organisms follows after a peak of influenza activity and this has been observed across Scotland as well as in NHS Lothian in the winter of 2017/2018.”