Water leak knocks out MRI scanner at children's hospital

A vital MRI scanner at one of Scotland's leading children's hospitals has been out of action this week due to a water leak.

An MRI scanner at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children was out of action
An MRI scanner at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children was out of action

Around 40 children have been affected and NHS Lothian have confirmed that a team of engineers are working round the clock at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh to resolve the problem. Hospital staff are currently unable to use the scanner in the radiology department until the room is dry and the machine can be turned back on.

This has meant appointments have had to be postponed leaving anxious parents angry and frustrated while the health board admitted they still don’t know what caused the problem.

A new £150 million state-of-the-art Royal Hospital for Children and Young People at the Little France site in Edinburgh has been beset by delays. It was initially due to open in July 2017 but after two further delays it was pushed back to May 2018 and will now not open until the Autumn of next year at the earliest.

The mother of a 13-year-old girl who wanted to remain anonymous said: “Our daughter has been suffering with painful headaches over a prolonged period of time of several months.

“She is losing an increasing number of days of schooling, either being off ill or being sent home being unable to cope. Following numerous trips back to our GP, my partner went to the Sick Kids accident and emergency and they organised a MRI scan which she would have had yesterday. We were phoned on Tuesday, to let us know that the scanner had been flooded and appointments would be rescheduled.

“There doesn’t seem to be a quick solution, to fix this invaluable diagnostic tool, which is an appalling situation.

“I would like to know how this vital piece of medical equipment has been flooded, in a hospital in 2018, and why a quick solution to help the medical staff diagnose children, can’t be found?

“What am I meant to tell my daughter, who keeps asking when will the scanner be fixed?”

Jacquie Campbell Chief Officer of Acute Services, NHS Lothian apologised for the “inconvenience”.

She added: “We know that any delay in diagnosis or treatment can be worrying, especially for parents of young children. I would assure patients and their families we are working to restore the paediatric MRI service as quickly as possible. Our expert radiology teams are assessing each patient’s case to determine whether they require to be seen on another site in NHS Lothian or in another health board. We are hoping to offer replacement appointments as quickly as possible and we will be in contact with families directly.”

Shadow health secretary Miles Briggs MSP said: “Serious questions clearly need to be asked how this water leak took place and what risk assessments were in place in this particular department.”

Scottish Labour MSP Daniel Johnson said: “The Royal Hospital for Sick Kids is moving this year, and by the sounds of it, that move can’t come soon enough. The fantastic staff are being hampered by leaks in a building which is no longer fit-for-purpose.”