Anger as bank removes ERI cash machine

Tom Waterson. Picture: Gareth Easton
Tom Waterson. Picture: Gareth Easton
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HOSPITAL staff and patients have lashed out at bank bosses after a vital cash machine at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary was removed without warning.

Last year the Royal Bank of Scotland provoked anger after closing its branch at the flagship hospital due to falling customer numbers – a claim disputed by staff and patient groups.

And now the remaining ATM has been taken away as part of a wider redevelopment, with hospital staff only informed of the move on the day it happened. RBS chiefs insist the removal is only temporary and that a new cash machine is set to be installed “shortly”.

But one hospital employee told the Evening News she was only told of the change by email on the day – after the ATM had already been taken away.

“I can’t remember the exact wording [of the email], but it was just to tell us it was no longer in use,” she said. “At least we will be able to go to the cash machine at Cameron Toll, but for patients and medical staff it will be very inconvenient.”

The RBS branch at the hospital shut down in July last year, citing a 30 per cent drop in transactions. But patient groups, MSPs and hospital staff all attacked the move, insisting the onsite bank was well used and played an important role at the hospital for older patients.

Unison Lothian branch chair Tom Waterson said the latest decision would be a “huge inconvenience” to the staff and patients who are based at the hospital for long periods of time.

He said: “It was just taken away without anybody’s prior knowledge. We were told it was being moved along a bit, but nobody was aware it was actually being taken away. It was the bank that decided to move it – it’s completely out of the health board’s hands. It’s caused great inconvenience to staff and visitors alike. My understanding is that the health board are now in negotiations with RBS to provide a new cash machine. The nearest place to get money is now Cameron Toll.”

An RBS spokeswoman insisted the move was only temporary but declined to put a date on when a new ATM would be put in place.

She said: “The ATM has been temporarily removed as part of a wider redevelopment within the hospital. A new ATM will be installed shortly.”

George Curley, director of facilities at NHS Lothian, said: “We are in the process of agreeing the installation of a replacement cash machine and it will be in place as soon as possible. We know how important and convenient it is for staff to have a machine on site.”