Hospital “banned” toast following fire alarms


PATIENTS at a Scottish hospital were refused toast because a faulty machine kept setting off the fire alarm.

Staff on a ward at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital had to refuse patients’ requests for toast after managers took away their toaster.

Instead, they were offered a selection of cold sandwiches if they felt peckish between meal times and after operations.

One patient said it was "a shame" she couldn't have toast
One patient said it was “a shame” she couldn’t have toast


One patient, who asked not to be named, said it was a “shame” that staff “couldn’t be trusted with a toaster” anymore.

“When you come round from an op you can’t really face much in the way of food and a wee bit of toast is perfect,” said the patient. “It’s easy to digest.

“Every other time I’ve been in hospital someone on the ward can rustle up toast in a few minutes.

“I was told they couldn’t do it any more as they had been banned from using toasters because they’d caused too many fire alarms.

“Instead I got a not great cold sandwich and all I could do was pick off a few bits of the bread.

The toaster was taken away from a ward at the Western General
The toaster was taken away from a ward at the Western General


“It’s a bit of a shame that a comforting tradition has gone down the tubes because highly-trained hospital staff can’t be trusted with a toaster.”

Chris Stirling, site director for the Western General Hospital, said: “A toaster was recently removed from a unit due to fire safety issues.

“Toast, therefore, is not routinely available on this unit. However, in view of this patient feedback we will consider options for providing it when requested.”

In 2010, new mothers at a hospital in Glasgow were no longer offered toast because the toasters were classed as a fire hazard.

Instead, staff at Southern General Hospital were given a roll, cereal or biscuits after their labour.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said the change was made as toasters were setting off the fire alarms.

Earlier this year it was reported that across the UK, hospitals were forced to pay out nearly £200,000 for false fire alarms, caused by burnt toast, steam and dust.

Some hospitals were visited several times a week for false alarms, which automatically trigger a call to the emergency services.