Complaints mount over '˜intolerable' 30C heat at ERI maternity unit

Patients have echoed complaints made by medical staff at the Royal Infirmary who are suffering in 'ridiculous' heat as temperatures hit 30C in the hospital.

Saturday, 28th July 2018, 6:00 am
Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Picture: JP

A midwife told the Evening News how the situation has become “intolerable” with the heat becoming overbearing at Simpson’s maternity unit.

It comes as the Capital is experiencing an ongoing heatwave with temperatures reaching highs of 27C this week. Yesterday was one of the hottest days of the year for eastern parts of Scotland on what was dubbed Furnace 

It does not bode well for those at the ERI who have blamed a lack of air conditioning in the PFI-built hospital for the dangerous conditions which have left staff and patients sweating and uncomfortable.

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A second midwife told the Evening News that the situation was getting worse with staff struggling to cope as the temperature on the wards 
surpassed 30c.

She added: “All staff are struggling in this heat. We have had to change out our uniforms to wear scrubs. We have very few fans and the ones we do have circulate hot air only.

We don’t get our allocated breaks, never mind extra breaks. Management have not been on the wards and we have had no resolution as to what we have to do. We are exhausted and no one seems to care.”

Concerns have been raised regarding the impact the conditions are having on mums-to-be and their children as windows are only allowed to open four inches as a safety feature of the £184 million building.

Despite this, patients have lauded the efforts of the “amazing” medical staff who are still providing a quality service.

Allyson Thomson said: “Currently lying in a bed on a ward in ERI. The heat is terrible. I’ve had a fan on for over 36 hours and it’s not helping. It’s so uncomfortable.

“I also feel for the staff working 12-hour shifts running around a hot ward in their heavy uniform with no air conditioning. Very unpleasant. The staff have been amazing helping in any way they can.”

Jilla Roo said: “I begged midwives to let me outside as the heat was suffocating. All they could do was let me go into an elevator to the ground floor where it was just as hot. Must be horrific to work in that all day every day.”

Tammy Hogg added: “I was in for bloods yesterday morning and it was absolutely melting to the point that I was soaking with sweat.”

NHS Lothian revealed a number of actions have been taken including the use of fans, switching off lights and electrical devices where appropriate and ensuring windows remain open.

The scorching weather has also taken its toll on other services across the Capital including ScotRail commuters who have suffered disruption after trains were forced to slow to 20mph on the main Edinburgh-Glasgow line when rail temperature hit 40C.

The Met Office’s Richard Miles said he did not want to predict exact temperatures but that they could be higher than those being currently experienced. He said: “Saturday will not be a total washout but rain is expected in many parts for most of the day. There will also be sunny spells and it will still feel warm, especially the further east you are. But next week, we start to see temperatures building again.

“The highest temperatures this week have been confined to the south east of England but we believe a much wider area will get it hot next week – and that includes Scotland.”