The County You Live, Work And Play
Hunter Health Centre Scrutiny
It was deja vu for staff at Hunter Health Centre when water poured in through the roof of their new £19.6million facility following its opening last week.
For many years the old centre in Andrew Street was plagued by a leaky roof. And the water ingress was just one of a list of teething problems suffered following the transfer.
Staff said there were problems with the lifts, people had suffered splinters from doors and hand rails, the telephone service had gone down, there were noise problems, the edging on stairs was lifting up causing a trip hazard and the toilets had already blocked.
“One person had also suffered an injury to their hand when it got caught in a door.
It is also understood many staff are also unhappy about having to ‘hot desk’ instead of having their own individual workstations, claiming NHS Lanarkshire had failed to consult them about this.
‘hot desking’ is the way of the future
One disgruntled worker said: “It is definitely not a happy place for staff to be.
“I haven’t met one happy member of staff and many are already browsing the vacancy site for a new job. Staff are fighting over desk space, but we keep getting told ‘hot desking’ is the way of the future. No teams were consulted on this proposal.”
They added that, to make matters worse, the noise from the atrium as well as the draft was filtering up to the fourth floor.”
NHS Lanarkshire’s head of management services Graham Johnston said most of the issues raised were just teething problems and most had already been or were in the process of being dealt with.
He said: “The new Hunter Community Health Centre provides an excellent environment for clinical staff to provide an even wider range of treatment and care services to our patients.
“The new state-of-the-art facility has only been open to the public for a week and as with any new development of this size, teething issues can and do arise.
“For example, the faulty connection on the centre roof which resulted in some water leakage, has been repaired, as have reported toilet blockages – which are always dealt with immediately by staff on all our sites.
“In relation to telephones, as part of the migration process to transfer telephone numbers from old bases to the new site, our telephone provider experienced some problems during the transfer which caused phones to go down for a brief period. This was also resolved on the same day."
“A temporary repair was also made to a stair edge which had become loose, to prevent a trip hazard and a full repair will be made soon.
“There was a minor issue with the centre lifts on the opening day which was resolved on the day by the lift engineers and they have been working normally since.
“We are not aware of, and have not received any complaints about the lift doors which are fully compliant with all health and safety regulations.
“We are aware of the quality of the voice messaging system in one of the lifts and are in the process of resolving this. The door into the lift lobby is now on ‘hold open’ which will improve traffic flow in and around the lobby.”
Mr Johnston said a staff member had suffered an injury following an incident with a closing door. The door was checked on the day and met health and safety regulations.
He added: “However, we continue to investigate this matter with our Health and Safety colleagues.”
Turning to the issue of hot desking he said: “NHS Lanarkshire has adopted open plan working for all our capital developments since 2010. This has resulted in staff in sites such as the Buchanan Centre, Airdrie Community Health Centre, Kilsyth Community Health Centre and our corporate headquarters in Kirklands Hospital, all embracing this new way of working.
“It has allowed for better utilisation of space and has been supported by trade unions and staff representatives.
“Discussions with the staff moving to Hunter Community Health Centre around open plan working have taken place since 2012 and staff have been made aware of this at all mobilisation meetings and local site meetings.
“We are not aware of any issue with regards to excessive noise on level four and would ask any staff with concerns to inform us to allow us to investigate further.
“As always, we review new processes and procedures once they have had time to ‘bed in’ and staff have the opportunity to raise any site issues they may have at monthly on-site meetings.”