A NEW maternity unit and cancer centre are to be built in Aberdeen after a £120 million funding package was unveiled by finance secretary John Swinney yesterday.
A recent damning report into the current maternity unit at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI) identified a string of hygiene failings and NHS Grampian said only a new maternity hospital would eradicate the problems.
Mr Swinney told MSPs at Holyrood that £120m will be made available for the NPD [non-profit distributing] scheme to fund the women’s hospital as well as a new cancer unit. A further £100m will be poured into the schools building project, he added.
Welcoming the announcement, NHS Grampian deputy chief executive Dr Pauline Strachan said: “This exciting project will enable NHS Grampian to transform services for women and cancer patients as part of our ‘Healthfit 2020’ vision for the redevelopment of the Foresterhill health campus.
“It is the result of a lot of hard work by many people over the last few years, good joint working between the NHS Grampian board and Scottish Government, and the creation of ambitious strategic plans for health services in the area and for the Foresterhill campus.
“The announcement today clearly demonstrates the long-term ambitions of NHS Grampian which, with our plans for primary and community care facilities, will modernise current infrastructure to meet the long-term health needs of the people of the north-east into the future.”
The current maternity unit was at the centre of controversy last October when a report by the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate (HEI) found blood on mattresses, bed rails and bed controls, contaminated incubators and cots, and rusty scrubbing-up sinks.
Under the new proposals, the women’s hospital would continue to provide all existing services such as specialist obstetrics and neonatal services. It would also include a planned community maternity unit for Aberdeen and the surrounding area, alongside other services such as gynaecology.
The new facility is likely to be near the children’s hospital to improve access to the neonatal unit and specialist staff. There will also be links to intensive care and other key facilities in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
The cancer centre is also planned for the same area of the Foresterhill campus, next to the new Matthew Hay building which opened in December 2012. It will be linked to the recently commissioned £25m radiotherapy centre.
Health secretary Alex Neil said: “This £120m in NPD investment reflects the clear commitment of the Scottish Government to high-quality care in high-quality health facilities.
“Making sure families receive a good experience when having a baby in NHS maternity hospitals is a top priority.
“This funding will allow NHS Grampian to build a new maternity hospital. This will see expectant mothers give birth in a better environment, and benefit from new equipment and state-of-the-art facilities.”