Further delays to opening of new Sick Kids Hospital

Royal Hospital for Sick Children.

Sick Kids Hospital, Little France

Artist's impression.
Royal Hospital for Sick Children. Sick Kids Hospital, Little France Artist's impression.
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Edinburgh’s Sick Kids Hospital has been delayed until next year.

THE opening of the Capital’s new children’s hospital has been delayed for another two months, it has emerged.

An artist's impression. Sick Kids was meant to open this year.

An artist's impression. Sick Kids was meant to open this year.

The £150 million Royal Hospital for Children and Young People at Little France was initially due to open this autumn, only to be delayed until next February or March.

Now the Evening News understands that date will be put back again until May next year at the earliest, to avoid staff and patient relocation over Easter.

READ MORE: Delays hit £150m Sick Kids project

“Families, parents and patients across the Lothians and eastern Scotland will be deeply disappointed and frustrated at this,” said Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Miles Briggs.

“This appears to be yet another delay to the opening of a vital new hospital facility, despite NHS Lothian guaranteeing that it would open next spring.”

Plans for new hospital were drawn up ten years ago and it was supposed to be open by the winter of 2012, only to be held up by a protracted land swap deal. Other problems included partner firms running into financial difficulties and poor winter weather hindering building work.

Mr Briggs criticised six years of delay, in which time he said Glasgow has completed a similar facility with funding from the Scottish Government.

“Families deserve answers and clarification from both NHS Lothian and the Scottish Government about the reasons behind this delay and I will be seeking these on behalf of constituents,” said Mr Briggs.

“The SNP government’s handling of this whole project – which it claims is one of its flagship infrastructure investments – has been incredibly poor from the outset, having originally indicated a new hospital could be ready by the end of

READ MORE: Sick Kids set for new name in hospital rebrand

2012. Since then we have seen delay after delay and this is unacceptable.”

NHS Lothian’s health board said it was putting back the opening date to ensure the “safe and effective” opening of the hospital.

Builders are still expected to complete the state-of-the-art centre by October this year and hand it over to hospital bosses.

But with it expected to take 16 weeks to move thousands of staff, patients and equipment to the site, bosses have pushed the opening back to May.

Jacquie Campbell, NHS Lothian chief officer for acute services, said: “We are revising our internal staff moving dates to ensure that all services move in a safe and effective manner.

“We anticipate the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People, Department for clinical neurosciences and child & adolescents mental health services will open to patients in spring 2018.

“However, until we have the revised migration timetable agreed these dates can not be confirmed.

“This is a huge project and it’s vital that the building is fully operational before it opens to ensure we provide the best possible care to all our patients. Staff are being kept up to date with any developments on moving dates.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “NHS Lothian have made us aware of the situation and we are continuing to liaise with them to ensure everything possible is being done to ensure the new hospital opens as soon as possible.”