ERI patients left without clean linen

Linen was left in short supply after an equipment breakdown at the ERI. Picture: Jon Savage

Linen was left in short supply after an equipment breakdown at the ERI. Picture: Jon Savage

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ERI bosses have been accused of running a “third world service” at the Capital’s flagship hospital amid claims patients were left without clean bed linen.

The Capital’s hospitals, which collectively use 250,000 bits of laundry every week, were left in short supply following an equipment breakdown last weekend.

A concerned NHS insider told the Evening News that staff were struggling with the lack of linen.

He said: “Nursing staff were having to do their best to make sure everyone was warm and cared for in as sanitary a way as possible – difficult when there are no bedsheets available to anyone.

“Bedsheets are boiled and changed regularly to cut down on the infection risk. As such it should be clear a lack of clean linen poses a risk to patients.

“Patients don’t expect a third world service from NHS Lothian, but that is what they increasingly get.”

The laundry service at St John’s Hospital in Livingston takes in all dirty bedding from every hospital in the Lothians.

George Curley, director of operations facilities at NHS Lothian, said the boiler breakdown had created a backlog but denied there had been a knock-on effect for hospital patients.

He said: “While this was fixed quickly, the laundry team have been working very hard to clear the backlog and ensure dirty linen is cleaned and re-issued to the hospitals as quickly as possible. Extra deliveries have been made to ensure that our hospitals have the supplies they need.

“There has been no detriment to patients.”

Scottish Conservative health spokesman Jackson Carlaw said it did “nothing to increase the public confidence in the hospital.”

He said: “The very least a patient at the ERI can expect is a clean set of sheets on the bed. These are fundamental things a hospital cannot get wrong, and unfortunately it’s not the first time this particular hospital has fallen short.”

Unison’s Davie Forbes said he hoped it would be a “one-off”.

He said: “Clean linen is fundamental to basic care and infection control so it should always be a priority.”