Residents of a Moray town say a faulty alarm at their new medical practice has given them months of sleepless nights and made their lives “an absolute nightmare”.
The security device at the Forres Health Centre has been going off regularly – often for hours at a time – since the building opened last September.
Locals compared it to an “air raid siren” and said they were sick of having to go to work and send their children to school after no rest.
Last night, NHS Grampian said it had taken steps to remedy the problem and was confident it had finally been solved.
However, a local councillor said neighbours had put up with enough and warned he would be bringing in noise pollution experts if the issue happened again.
Zena Thomas, 40, lives at Mannachie Court with her husband and two young children Emily, eight, and Reece, three.
Mrs Thomas, a manager at a local engineering firm, said the faulty system had ruined the family’s quality of life.
She said: “On Saturday night the alarm rang constantly from 8pm to almost 3am, and my two children lost a lot of sleep because of it.
“There was one incident where the alarm was sounding all night for three nights on the trot and I have had to go into work having had no rest at all.
“It’s just ridiculous, and I don’t understand why they have never just switched it off.
“I appreciate that NHS Grampian are working to fix it and hopefully they have it under control now, but I have been told that numerous times in the past so I’m not convinced.”
Glenelg Road resident Peter Anderson, 29, said: “The alarm is proper loud, and it can go on for hours during the night.
“My partner and I just moved here in January but it has been a problem for us since then.
“We have a little baby so our nights are disturbed as it is.”
A resident of Grant Place, who did not wish to be named, said: “It’s like an air raid siren and it has been happening since the day it opened.
“When I phoned the police to complain about it on Saturday night they told me several people had already been in touch, and it wasn’t a police matter.
“It has been an absolute nightmare, it has had a drastic impact on our lives.”
Forres councillor George Alexander has taken on residents’ concerns and this week urged Moray Council to intervene on their behalf.
He said: “I think the people who live around Forres Health Centre have been very patient and understanding with the teething troubles the building has had.
“I’ve encouraged that approach but we are beyond that point now and if the problem happens again I want the council’s sound pollution department to take action.
“It is not acceptable and I have lost patience with the people who run the building.”
An NHS Grampian spokesperson said: “The alarm system at Forres Health and Care centre developed a fault over the weekend, which caused the alarm to sound repeatedly.
“Engineers were on site early on Monday morning, identified the problem and repaired it that day. We are confident the issue has now been resolved.
“We would wish to apologise to local residents for the disturbance caused and we have spoken personally to those who raised complaints over the weekend.”
The centre’s manager Theresa Byrne said: “We are tenants of NHS Grampian, and we are not responsible for the building’s security.
“We share residents’ concerns, and we aren’t trying to avoid the issue, but we can’t do anything about it.”
Security firm Kingdom is responsible for sending staff to switch off the alarm. No one from the company was available to comment yesterday.