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Saturday, 29 July 2006 08:36
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
Staffs may strike over heat
Hospital staffs at one of Scotland's leading hospitals could walk out in a row about overheating which has left staff fainting on wards.

Unison, the public service union, said it was considering balloting staff at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh on industrial action if the heat problems at the flagship PFI hospital are not resolved.

The union said this was the fourth summer that they had flagged up problems because of the extreme heat and staffs were at the end of their tether. But Consort Healthcare, which operates the site, said the situation was being resolved with temporary air-conditioning units.

NHS Lothian also promised that the issue was being addressed.

Tom Waterson, the Lothian health branch chairman of Unison, said they had continually raised the problem with the health board, Consort and Andy Kerr, the health minister.

"This is the fourth year in a row that hot weather has caused unacceptable conditions in this hospital and yet we are still expected to accept temporary solutions," said Mr Waterson. "Staffs are fed up having to try and work in conditions that are uncomfortable and in some cases could lead to accidents.

"So, unless we can get the people who run this hospital to accept their responsibility and introduce a proper solution, we are going to have to consider what action we can take to demonstrate how serious the situation is”.

Shona Robison, the SNP's health spokeswoman, said that the heating was another problem in a string of complaints about the PFI project.

She said: "Consort should take some responsibility for this situation and resolve it, rather than try to brush it off, because clearly staff and patients are the ones suffering”.


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