THE NEW national blood centre will modernise the delivery of safe and efficient supplies to patients across Scotland, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.
The National Centre of Excellence will be the hub for the processing, testing, supply, research and development for blood and human donor tissues and cells at its new home at Heriot-Watt Research Park in Midlothian.
The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) facility has received £43 million from the Scottish Government through the non-profit distributing model.
It forms part of the £4.5 billion overall investment in infrastructure which was set out in the 2015-16 draft budget.
Marking the start of construction on the new facility, Ms Sturgeon said: “Our support for this exciting new facility is part of our £4.5 billion investment in Scotland’s infrastructure, including in transport, housing, colleges, health facilities and schools.
“Currently, projects worth around £750 million are in construction across Scotland.
“This Government’s continued commitment to infrastructure investment is delivering quality services, creating jobs and helping to grow the economy.
“This new state-of-the-art centre will put Scotland ahead of the rest of the UK for its work researching and testing blood.
“It will also deliver investment and opportunities to the local community and will mean we can continue to provide sustainable, high-quality and continually improving healthcare services to patients across Scotland.”
The purpose-built facility has been designed by SNBTS and developers Interserve Kajima. It will consolidate and modernise several of its core activities and services.
The National Centre will be completed by mid-2017 and more than 400 staff members are expected to move to the site.
Ian Crichton, chief executive officer of NHS National Services Scotland, said: “The construction of this National Centre is one of the biggest projects currently under way within National Services Scotland.
“The work of SNBTS is instrumental to healthcare provision in Scotland and without it our health service could not function.
“This new facility will propel the organisation into the future by providing a flexible and adaptive space to deliver an even better service to patients for the foreseeable future.”
SNBTS director Mary Morgan said: “Consolidating many of our services will mean we can continue to meet the growing blood transfusion needs of patients across the country while providing the highest quality working environment for our staff and ongoing contribution to Scotland’s leading life-science research and development industry.”