A VITAL scanner at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children is out of action for a second week in a row due to a water leak.
Around 60 children have now been affected, with some given new appointment times at a later date and others taken into the mainstream hospital system.
NHS Lothian have confirmed they aim to have the MRI scanner at the Sick Kids “back up and running” next week after flooding caused it to break down.
Hospital staff are currently unable to use the scanner in the radiology department despite the leak being fixed as repair works are still being carried out.
This has meant appointments have had to be postponed, leaving anxious parents angry and frustrated.
One mother who wished to remain anonymous said: “I am horrified to learn that the Edinburgh Sick kids MRI scanner is still out of action for a second week, it is deeply troubling that a valuable and vital diagnostic tool is still not working, and there seems to be no news on when it will be fixed.
“We greatly appreciate all the NHS staff, who I know are doing their very best to reschedule appointments at other MRI scanners. However, there must be impact on the availability for adults who are also in need of a scan in the Lothians.”
She added: “We count our blessings as we have been given a rescheduled appointment, but my heart goes out to other families who are still waiting in limbo, as I know how distressing that is.
“The knock-on effect from this maintenance issue must be that everyone’s waiting for longer for necessary scans.
“Has the water leak caused damage to this sensitive equipment and put it beyond repair?
“I think we need answers; how long will this take to remedy, and what other wards and equipment are at risk at the Sick Kids hospital?
“It would be a tragedy if this issue caused a delay in a child’s diagnosis and the start of their treatment”.
A new £150 million state-of-the-art Royal Hospital for Children and Young People at the Little France site has been beset by delays. It was initially due to open in July 2017 but after two further delays it was pushed back to May 2018 and will now not open until the autumn of next year at the earliest.
Jacquie Campbell, Chief Officer of Acute Services, NHS Lothian, said; “We aim to have the MRI scanner at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children back up and running next week and we will begin rescheduling appointments as soon as possible.
“The water leak has been fixed and repair works will be completed, before engineers can restore the machine.
“We know that any delay in diagnosis or treatment can be worrying, especially for parents of young children and I apologise for the inconvenience. In the meantime, our expert radiology teams are assessing patients on an individual basis.”
Labour MSP Daniel Johnson said: “Swift diagnosis is vital in assessing and reassuring patients. The delays following the leak in the Sick Kids may be unavoidable, given the age of the building. However, the NHS needs to do all it can to ensure that patients can be diagnosed quickly and effectively.”