‘It’s pandemonium’ - Hundreds queue up to 3 hours for Covid-19 jab at Edinburgh’s Royal Highland Centre
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The new vaccine hub opened on Monday, May 17, and is the largest vaccination centre in the Capital, with the capacity to vaccine more than 30,000 people per week.
The centre ran into trouble this afternoon as hundreds of people were left queuing in the centre for over three hours.
Disgruntled people tired of the long wait have blamed the NHS Lothian for poor planning and management.
Lucy Broadie, 34, from West Lothian has been queuing inside the centre since 1.50pm today and is yet to reach the registration desk.
Her husband Lawrence Broadie, 40, has been waiting to collect his wife for over two hours,
Speaking to the Evening News from the Royal Highland Centre car park he said: “We arrived at 1.50pm ready for her appointment at 1.59pm. We are now coming up to 3.45pm and she has not gotten as far as the registration desk.
“Something has gone very wrong, I had my vaccination at the Gyle and the whole process took less than five minutes.”
Mr Broadie said the issue has been persistent all day and he has grown frustrated by the lack of communication from NHS Lothian.
He said: “People are telling me that it has been like this since the morning. Obviously there is something about the system they have that is not working.
“Lucy has not spoken to any staff since joining the queue"
Hundreds of people are currently waiting at the Royal Highland Centre including Euan Eadie, 38, his wife Laura Eadie, 37, and their one-month-old baby Arron.
The family from South Queensferry arrived at 3.25pm and were told to expect a wait of up to three hours.
The couple asked if they could be given priority due to their newborn baby requiring regular feeds but were told no.
Mr Eadie’s father Bill Eadie, 64, from North Berwick said his son and daughter-in-law were told by NHS Lothian staff to “join the back of the queue or rearrange your appointment for another day”.
The angry grandfather said the queue stretched more than 100 yards and there were many young children and babies in line with their parents.
“It’s absolute pandemonium,” said Mr Eadie. “My son thought it would be a ten minute appointment but were told the centre had a three hour delay."
Nurse director of primary and community care at NHS Lothian Pat Wynne said: “We are reaching the busiest stage in the vaccination programme so far, with more than 87,000 people attending appointments this week.
“We have robust plans in place to ensure everyone can receive the lifesaving 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.”