‘Sadly, this is what we have come to expect’

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AN OPERATING theatre being shut down by a single 
 fly may sound unbelievable to most.

When you learn that it happened at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, it is, sadly, the sort of thing we have come to expect.

This is the hospital, after all, where the Evening News has reported on operations being completed by torchlight after a power failure and a dead pigeon halting surgery.

We may have come to expect such incidents but that doesn’t make them any more acceptable in a modern hospital for which taxpayers are continuing to pay through the nose.

Attention will no doubt centre again on Consort, the private firm which runs the hospital under the controversial PFI deal, and certainly it is up to it to ensure the building is fit for purpose.

There are reports that a colony of 100 pigeons is living in the roof space of the ERI, with both NHS 
Lothian and its private partner under fire amid claims they have failed to tackle the problem.

Today, we have an assurance that the issue, whether it is bird-related or not, will be “fully rectified”.

As we face up to a harsh winter with an over-stretched hospital already under massive pressure, it had better be.

Any further incidents of this kind are the last thing that the NHS needs to be dealing with at the
moment.

We simply cannot afford for the ERI to be operating at anything less than full capacity when health chiefs have already announced they are having to reopen mothballed facilities just to cope with demand.

Paws for thought

It is hard to believe it is a year since Tian Tian and Yang Guang arrived in Edinburgh, instantly becoming among the city’s most famous residents.

And what a year it has been.

According to figures today, the zoo has attracted 200,000 extra visitors and shifted tens of thousands of cuddly panda toys on the back of their new attractions.

It is just a small indication of the overall benefit to the city of hosting these incredible animals for the next nine years, and is further evidence that the deal struck to bring them to the Capital was an excellent piece of business.

Hopefully, the zoo can build on the success of the first year and, with other developments such as the revamped penguin enclosure, can look forward to a prosperous future.

Just think about the financial boost and worldwide attention which would accompany news of the pitter-patter of tiny panda paws.