NHS staff threaten action on overheating hospital

ANGRY workers at Edinburgh's Royal Infirmary are planning to take industrial action as escalating summer temperatures have led to staff fainting.

Public service union, Unison, is considering balloting nurses, porters and staff workers at the hospital if the problem is not resolved.

Tom Waterson, the Lothian health branch chairman of Unison, said the union had continually raised the issue with the health board, contractor Consort Healthcare, 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 Waterson. "Staff are fed up having to try and work in conditions that are uncomfortable and in some cases could lead to accidents."

David Bolton, the chief operating officer in the University Hospitals Division of NHS Lothian, said although the hospital was not built with air-conditioning, they were trying to alleviate the heat with portable air-conditioning units.

"There is now more of the hospital covered by air-conditioning than last year and by next year even more of the hospital will have air-conditioning," he said.