‘People want to know hospitals are safe places’

We worry about all sorts of things when we have go into hospital. A power cut which results in an operation being completed by torchlight should not be one of them.

Thankfully, in this instance, the patient was not harmed.

Had this been a different patient, as part of a more serious operation, it is not an exaggeration to suggest that someone could have lost their life as a result of such a blunder.

NHS Lothian has been quick to point the finger at Consort, the private firm which is paid about £60 million a year to run the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

It is not the first time that Consort’s role – which involves maintenance, security, cleaning and catering – has come under serious scrutiny.

Problems with background checks on staff, smoke alarms and levels of security have all been highlighted by the Evening News.

Consort may be at fault but in the eyes of the public the only contract that matters is between patient and state-run hospital.

Private deals may be at work in the background but, frankly, we don’t care.

If the bins are not collected on time or the vending machines are not stocked, then no-one gets hurt.


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But if clinical operations are in jeopardy because of the role of a private contractor, it is time for action.

This is NHS Lothian’s problem. The public don’t know who Consort is. They don’t give a stuff. They just want to know that their hospitals are safe places.

Right now, can Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon and NHS Lothian truly give that assurance?

Fines and threats are no longer enough. Our readers deserve better.


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Wheel of fortune

We have been supportive of the plans for the Wheel of Edinburgh in Princes Street Gardens and the decision to grant it planning permission is good news.

It will be a valuable new attraction to the city at a time when the more people we can drive into the city centre, the better. A charge of £8, although higher than originally mooted, does not seem extortionate and there is the added bonus of a contribution to a community fund.

No-one is suggesting it will be a permanent addition to the Gardens and we would be concerned if that was the case. But as a temporary wheel of fortune, it has to be worth a spin.


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Within sensible parameters the city must continue to innovate and offer new attractions.