Covid Scotland: Delays and huge queues seen again outside Edinburgh's biggest vaccination centre
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Queues were reported ‘right back to the car park’ at the Royal Highland Centre in a repeat of the delays reported at the venue last month.
One person told the Edinburgh Evening News they arrived on Monday for their appointment scheduled for 11:40am only to discover a huge line winding right back into the venue’s car park.
They were seen an hour and a half after their original appointment time. The person said that staff members were seen handing out bottles of water to patients as they waited in several queues.
Some other patients reported being stuck in queues for between two and three hours.
Edinburgh’s biggest Covid-19 vaccination centre opened on May 17 at the Lowland Hall and has the capacity to deliver 30,000 vaccines per week.
In response to concerns raised on social media about the waiting time for appointments, a spokesman for the centre said extra staff had been called to assist with the number of patients and those who weren’t able to wait in the lengthy queues for their jag were offered alternative slots at drop-in clinics.
The centre also confirmed staff were handing out water and fast tracking vulnerable patients and those with children who were waiting in the queues.
NHS Lothian has been contacted for comment.
This isn’t the first time large queues at the Royal Highland Centre have resulted in frustration and significant delays.
On May 24 – after being open just one week – hundreds of people were left queuing for up to three hours, with “poor planning and management” from NHS Lothian blamed for the bottleneck.
One couple, with a newborn baby who required regular feeding, were refused priority after arriving – instead being told they would likely have to wait at least three hours for their jabs.
Others stuck in the line described the scenes outside the vaccination centre as “pandemonium”.
Pat Wynne, nurse director of primary and community care at NHS Lothian, said at the time the centre was reaching the busiest stage in the vaccination programme, with more than 87,000 people attending appointments in the first week.
He said: “We have robust plans in place to ensure everyone can receive the life-saving vaccine as quickly as supplies allow. These include drawing on our bank of vaccinators and redeploying vaccinators to different venues to meet the demand.
“Patients will have to queue sometimes and while we understand this will be frustrating, we would reassure them we are working hard behind the scenes to reduce numbers as soon as they begin build, and in many cases prevent queues from forming at all.
“Very often, queues will ease as quickly as they form and patients are urged to continue to turn up on time, with their appointment letter. They will always receive their vital vaccination.”
On May 22 and 23, Lowland Hall saw a no-show rate of 25 per cent of all scheduled appointments.
NHS officials confirmed the figures, but refused to speculate on the reasons behind the high rate of missed appointments.