Date: Friday 28 July 2006
Edinburgh Royal infirmary - Four years of overheating still not
UNISON - Scotland's public service union - is considering balloting
Edinburgh's flagship Royal Infirmary staff on Industrial Action
if the major heat problems bedevilling the £1,000m PFI Hospital
are not sorted out.
Despite the new building being one of the flagship PFI projects
of the Scottish Government it has continually caused problems for
staff and patients in the summer, when temperatures inside the buildings
go through the roof. This is now the fourth summer that problems
have been flagged up by the union, and staff are at the end of their
Tom Waterson, UNISON's Lothian health branch Chair said "Despite
UNISON having continually raised the problem with the Health Board,
the private contractors who run the hospital, and recently even
the Minister for Health, the heat seems to get unbearable every
year. This is the fourth year in a row that hot weather has caused
unacceptable conditions in this hospital and yet we are still expected
to accept temporary solutions. Staff are fed up having to try and
work in conditions that are uncomfortable, and in some cases could
lead to accidents. So, unless we can get the people who run this
hospital to accept their responsibility and introduce a proper solution
we are going to have to consider what action we can take to demonstrate
how serious the situation is."
Edinburgh Royal Infirmary was built under the controversial Private
Finance Initiative, and is operated by private company Consort Healthcare.
It will cost the NHS over £1,000m by the end of the contract, despite
only costing Consort healthcare £184m to build The problem of the
overheating has been reported in the press every summer since it
Tom Waterson said "Staff have again been fainting in the wards
and feeling nauseous. Although there are temporary airconditioning
units and fans in some parts of the hospital - there are not sufficient
to cover it all, and many of these have been temporary since 2003!
The Health and Safety Executive has already given a damning report
on this mess, and Consort make a lot of money from the public purse.
Yet they seem unable to sort it out, despite sitting in air-conditioned
offices themselves. Back in 2003 staff walked out for a 'coffee
break, because they couldn't stand the temperatures any longer,
it is now time to consider stronger action."
For Further Information Please Contact: Tom Waterson (Chair
- Lothian Health Branch) 0775 362 7575 (m) Chris Bartter (Communications
Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)