Covid Scotland: MSP demands explanation for repeat of long queues at Edinburgh's biggest vaccination centre

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A Lothian MSP has blasted NHS Lothian for allowing a repeat of huge queues for Covid-19 vaccinations at Edinburgh’s Royal Highland Centre.

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The Evening News reported how people had to wait for up to three hours on Monday, with queues reported “right back to the car park”.

The scenes were similar to those seen two weeks earlier, on May 24, when the centre had been operating for just a week, when hundreds were left queuing for a similar length of time. Some of those waiting blamed “poor planning and management” by NHS Lothian for the bottleneck.

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Queues at the Royal Highland Centre on MondayQueues at the Royal Highland Centre on Monday
Queues at the Royal Highland Centre on Monday

Now Lothian Tory MSP Sue Webber has called or the health board to explain why the situation was allowed to happen again.

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Covid Scotland: Delays and huge queues seen again outside Edinburgh's biggest va...

She said on the first occasion NHS Lothian had said they were reaching the busiest stage in the vaccination programme.

She said: “While I appreciate the vaccination programme is at a busy stage, after experiencing these issues last month at Ingliston, NHS Lothian should have put plans in place to prevent this from happening again.

“I am meeting with NHS Lothian on Friday and I will be questioning them about this directly during my meeting.”

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Edinburgh’s biggest Covid-19 vaccination centre opened on May 17 in the Royal Highland Centre’s Lowland Hall with the capacity to deliver 30,000 jags a week.

The centre has 50 vaccination stations with the potential to increase to 61.

Pat Wynne, nurse director of primary and community care at NHS Lothian, said: “We are now underway with our busiest week in our vaccination programme so far, with more than 80,000 people expected to attend appointments this week. We have also received additional support from the Army this week, which will allow us to vaccinate an extra 3,600 people per day.

“We are very sorry for the wait experienced by people attending the Royal Highland Showground, which was due to an administrative error.

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“When we realised a long queue was forming, our team took proactive measures to address the delay. This included deploying staff from other venues and providing bottled water for those waiting outside. By the afternoon the wait had been reduced to 10 minutes.

“The vast majority of patients were very understanding, and we received very few complaints. We would like to thank everyone for their patience. Everyone received their vital vaccine and the centre closed on time at 6.30pm.”

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