OPERATING theatres at Inverclyde Royal Hospital are set for £360,000 worth of cosmetic surgery.

Officials from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have confirmed that the day surgery unit will close next month for a refurbishment.

Work will be carried out over Christmas and new year to ensure minimal disruption.

A health board spokeswoman said: "NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde is investing £360,000 in a programme of refurbishment for the day surgery unit at Inverclyde Royal. "This will include improvements to the lighting system and fire prevention equipment. "The work will take place over the festive period in order to minimise any disruption to our patients."

The announcement comes after the health board was forced to defend conditions at the hospital.

A whistleblower said the day surgery unit had to close recently due to flooding.

The source also raised concerns about cleanliness.

The claims were made after the Tele revealed a fortnight ago how IRH maintenance staff have admitted there is nothing more they can do to tackle water ingress and that major investment or a new building is required.

NHS chiefs have admitted that the day surgery unit was closed, but stressed it was only as a precaution and said it has one of the highest hygiene ratings.

Officials say the refurbishment work is completely unrelated to recent problems, which they labelled as 'alarmist claims'.

A spokeswoman said: "Earlier this month there was a small leak into a room beside a day surgery operating theatre. "Whilst the theatre itself was not affected, it was taken out of operation for two days as a precaution to allow safety checks to be carried out. "This meant that a small number of patients had their surgery in the main IRH operating suite or the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley.

"Patient safety is our overriding priority at all times; the claims that management would re-open a theatre before it was safe to do so are completely false and irresponsible. "We would wish to reassure patients that there is no truth in these alarmist claims.

"No concerns were raised by staff at the time about hygiene. "In fact the last cleanliness audit in the area rated 'excellent' with a score of 97 per cent."

The health board has spent over £20m on Inverclyde Royal since 2013 and recently acknowledged that more investment is required to bring the building up to scratch.