The outside of a showpiece £300 million hospital has been branded an eyesore because of thoughtless gum chewers.
Maintenance staff are fighting a losing battle to keep the walkways leading into Forth Valley Royal clean, it has been claimed.
The paths to the main doors of the building opened by The Queen just six months ago are littered with the unsightly blobs of white sticky goo which have been spat out by hundreds of thoughtless members of the public.
One disappointed visitor, who asked not to be named, complained: “Driving into the hospital, the landscaped gardens and slabbed areas around the car parks are very impressive. But what a disappointment you get as you walk up to the entrance. The amount of chewing gum which has simply been spat out and left for other people to try to avoid is shocking and not something you’d expect to see. It’s a disgrace. I suppose they have cleaners doing their best to scrape it up it up but it must be a thankless task and who knows what it is costing. Surely people visiting relatives or friends in hospital could show better manners and dispose of their chewing gum in the litter bins?”
Mike Mackay, contract director with Serco which has the £15 million a year support service contract at the hospital, said: “Any litter, including discarded chewing gum and cigarette ends is both unsightly and unnecessary. There are many thousands of visitors to the hospital each week and the majority conduct themselves in an appropriate manner, respecting the hospital grounds and wider community. Unfortunately however there are a minority who do not consider the work and cost involved in cleaning up completely unnecessary litter. In December we employed a member of staff to patrol and clean the entrance areas and wider grounds. This individual has also been given the responsibility to remove chewing gum, so going forward we should see a significant improvement.”
A spokeswoman for NHS Forth Valley said: “It is most regrettable that chewing gum has been noted in the grounds of Forth Valley Royal Hospital. The disposal of chewing gum and cigarette ends is a continuous problem and cleaning takes place daily.”
Forth Valley Royal Hospital was opened by Her Majesty the Queen on July 6 last year. It is the largest NHS Scotland construction project to be completed and boasts 860 beds in 25 wards over four floors, has 16 operating theatres and a pharmacy run by robots.