HIGH AND DRY; UNION'S FEARS FOR STAFF AND PATIENTS Dental hospital workers' fury as NHS bosses ban water coolers over risks to health.
Byline: | Julie-Anne Barnes
Staff at Scotland's flagship dental hospital have accused NHS leaders of leaving them hot and bothered because of a water cooler ban.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) is the latest board to impose the ban on water coolers as a health and safety measure.
But employees at the nine-storey building say the only safe drinking water is on the second floor.
It means oral cancer patients being treated on the seventh floor would have to climb five floors after accessing the only available tap.
And staff, who are also banned from taking their own drinks to patient areas, have to leave their work stations just to get a drink.
A source said: "We were told removing the water coolers was about health and safety but I think it was because they were too expensive.
"The taps in the hospital aren't suitable to drink. The building is huge so, for anyone on the upper floors, it's just not practical."
The source also told how workers are forbidden from taking their own water bottles into clinics due to infection control.
The insider added: "Most of us will just be ignoring that."
Glasgow Dental Hospital and School in the city's Sauchiehall Street is the leading centre for specialist oral health care, education and research in Scotland. It is where students from Glasgow University complete their training and is also a specialist treatment centre for complex cases.
The announcement about drinking water was made verbally to staff earlier this month. They were told to expect an email confirming the decision.
Matt McLaughlin, Unison regional organiser, said: "The NHS claims to be an employer that cares about the welfare of its staff. But how can that be the case when you have to climb sets of stairs to get a drink of water? It's ridiculous."
Although the NHS said the move is to eliminate potential contamination, it is likely to save cash-strapped health boards hundreds of thousands of pounds.
McLaughlin added: "Legally, there should be one accessible tap of palatable drinking water per 50 patients. If staff have to start taking in their own water, they will need to be compensated."
The NHSGGC said: "Guidance is being issued nationally that bottled water coolers should not be used in NHS Scotland healthcare premises.
"There is potential for bacteria in the nozzle and the water bottle if not routinely used, which could pose an infection risk to patients.
"Patients and staff will have access to drinking water from ward kitchens or suitably assessed plumbed-in water coolers."
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||Aug 25, 2019|
|Previous Article:||make it lavender & LEMON PANDALEINES.|
|Next Article:||Claire is ready to Step up for Voice.|