Calls for new eye hospital for Edinburgh at top of in-tray for incoming Health Secretary Humza Yousaf

New Health Secretary Humza Yousaf will find the calls for a new eye hospital for Edinburgh at the top of his in-tray when he gets down to work.

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A cross-party group of Lothian MSPs has written to him asking for more information on the Scottish Government’s plans for replacing the no longer fit-for-purpose Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion following the SNP’s pledge during the election to do so.

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And two SNP MSPs are among the signatories calling for more details.

Humza Yousaf is already facing pressure in his new role

The letter congratulates Mr Yousaf on his appointment and says they are writing “constructively” on a cross-party basis.

It goes on: "We would be grateful if you could provide information on when a new Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion will be delivered.

“We welcomed a commitment from the First Minister last month to fund a replacement Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion. Therefore, it would be useful for MSPs to get more information on the delivery of the new hospital.

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The Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion is no longer fit for purpose

“The process of reviewing clinical pathways, which will inform an option appraisal on future models of care and accommodation, has now been completed.

“Please would you advise when the option appraisal is due to be complete and the Scottish Government will be in the position to fund a new Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion.”

The letter was signed by SNP MSPs Gordon MacDonald (Edinburgh Pentlands) and Paul McLennan (East Lothian) as well as Conservative Lothian MSPs Miles Briggs, Susan Webber and Jeremy Balfour, Edinburgh Southern Labour MSP Daniel Johnson, Labour Lothian MSP Sarah Boyack, Edinbugh Western Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton and Green Lothian MSP Lorna Slater.

Miles Briggs, who instigated the letter, said: “With the appointment of Humza Yousaf to Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport I wanted to ensure that the first issue on his desk was the new Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion.

“It is now critical that we are given assurances that funding will be restored for a new replacement eye hospital.

“I welcome the cross-party support for the campaign and what is now important is to move forward with the delivery of a new hospital, so that patients in NHS Lothian can receive the best possible eye care.

“A new eye hospital will be vital for NHS Lothian’s recovery from Covid-19 and to get on top of waiting times.”

Paul McLennan said the Eye Pavilion was an issue that had been raised with him and he was glad in the wake of the election there could so quickly be cross-party consensus.

"That commitment has been made by the First Minister and we’re all keen to sit down with Humza to see how we progress this.”

Alex ColeHamilton said: “Campaigners across the political spectrum were heartened by the assurances from the First Minister during the election that the government would make money available for a new purpose-built Eye Pavilion. It’s now time to ensure she makes good on this promise which is of importance to countless thousands across our city.”

Daniel Johnson said: “Making sure there are clear plans for a new eye hospital is in everyone’s interests. I look forward to working with all parties to ensure we get the commitments from the government and make the most of this opportunity.”

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