PATIENTS had routine operations cancelled at Inverclyde Royal after the closure of a centre that sterilises equipment for hospitals.

Health bosses have confirmed that 324 operations across all Greater Glasgow and Clyde hospitals, including IRH, have been postponed.

This is due to the closure of Cowlairs decontamination unit in Springburn, which failed a safety inspection.

The problems were uncovered by independent inspectors from Lloyds Register Quality Assurance, who raised concerns about the fabric of the building.

As a result, the Inverclyde Royal sterile services unit, which is based in Wren Road, is assisting in providing some short-term cover for the Glasgow area.

Health chiefs have released a statement apologising to the patients who have been affected and made assurances that the situation will be resolved as soon as possible.

A statement from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: "The decontamination unit at Cowlairs will re-open as soon as the various tests and checks have been completed and re-certification is obtained from our quality assurance auditors.

"We are making strenuous efforts to bring it back in to use as quickly as possible but do not yet have a confirmed date for this.

"In order to prioritise emergency, trauma and urgent cases, we have now regrettably had to postpone 324 operations that were scheduled to take place between last Friday and Wednesday.

"This decision to restrict planned operations applies to our full programme of routine surgery across all Greater Glasgow and Clyde hospitals.

"We are very sorry for the inconvenience and concern that this will have caused and are writing to the patients affected."