The postal service announced today that it had chosen to paint five postboxes near to major hospitals around the UK dealing with the pandemic, including St Thomas' Hospital in London and the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff. The five postboxes are painted in ‘NHS blue’ and say ‘Thank You NHS’.
It said the postboxes were chosen to ensure representation in all four UK countries and to commemorate the hospital where the NHS was founded.
However, the postbox it chose to decorate in Edinburgh was close to the Royal Edinburgh Hospital in Morningside – instead of near the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary (ERI) at Little France, which is the main hospital in the city.
The Royal Edinburgh is mainly a psychiatric hospital and is not likely to be treating a large number of Coronavirus sufferers.
Work is now underway to "locate" a second postbox close to the ERI. The Royal Edinburgh postbox, on Balcarres Street, will remain blue.
A spokeswoman for the Royal Mail, which last year axed its public relations department in Scotland and moved its communications operations to its London headquarters, said: “A simple miscommunication on our side has seen the misplacement of our Edinburgh 'Thank You NHS' postbox. We are grateful to those who have been in contact.
“Working within the Scottish Government's social distancing guidelines, work has begun to ensure that as soon as possible a postbox is located close to Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.”
She added: “The special postbox at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital will remain. We wish to reiterate our thanks to the many NHS workers across the UK who are working tirelessly to help those affected by the coronavirus crisis.”
Shane O’Riordain, managing director of Regulation, Corporate Affairs and Marketing at the Royal Mail, said: “We are showing our support and thanks to the many NHS workers across the UK who are working tirelessly to help those affected by the coronavirus crisis. The special blue postboxes are a small token of our thanks for the exceptional service NHS workers are providing across all four UK nations.
“At Royal Mail, we are working hard to deliver the most comprehensive service we can to all our customers in challenging circumstances. We understand that the Universal Postal Service provides a lifeline to businesses and communities everywhere during the coronavirus crisis. We are working closely with pharmacy companies and NHS trusts across the UK. And we are delivering many prescriptions and hospital appointments. This is a key priority for us. We would like to thank all our colleagues across the UK for helping to keep the nation connected in such challenging circumstances.”
The other postboxes which have been painted are near the Trafford General Hospital in Manchester and the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.