Date set for completion of works at Edinburgh's new Sick Kids Hospital after series of delays

A date has been set for the completion of building works at new Edinburgh Sick Kids hospital.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has confirmed the Royal Hospital for Sick Children is scheduled to complete building works on January 25 next year after restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic contributed to delays in construction.

But the £150 million project at Little France has been repeatedly hit with problems in recent years and last minute inspections in July 2019 found safety concerns with its ventilation systems, further delaying the project.

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An opening date for the hospital has not yet been set.

Edinburgh's new Sick Kids hospital has been hit with a series of delays to construction in recent years. Pic: Scott Louden

In a written Parliamentary answer and a letter published today, Ms Freeman confirmed the new project timeline for finishing the final areas of the new Sick Kids hospital.

‘Years late’

Lothian MSP Miles Briggs (Scottish Conservative) said he was “pleased” about a firm deadline being given for the completion of the work but added: “This hospital is years late, millions of pounds over budget and families, and NHS staff in Edinburgh and East of Scotland will be glad that they will finally be getting the state of the art hospital they deserve.

“The independent review into why we have seen such mismanagement of the project to build the new Royal Hospital for Children and Young People must get to the bottom of what went has gone so spectacularly wrong and ensure those responsible are held accountable."

NHS Lothian said the new construction timeline will allow them to figure out a schedule for migrating the remaining children's services from the existing Sick Kids hospital at Sciennes, along with staff and patients and installing and testing equipment.

Around three-quarters of all children's outpatient services were moved from the current Sick Kids hospital to the new facility in July. This involved moving fracture clinics, physiotherapy services and follow up appointments for patients who recently had surgery.

The health authority has also been using video calls for a number of appointments.

All services in the departments of clinical neurosciences, formerly at the Western General, are also now being delivered from the new site at Little France after being moved across in July.

‘Positive progress’

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In a statement, Ms Freeman said: “Despite the impact of Covid-19, positive progress has been made with the department of clinical neurosciences, including neurophysiology and diagnostic radiology, moving in May as promised and the majority of outpatient services moving in early July.

“We now have a confirmed date for safe completion of the final areas of the new Royal Hospital for Children and Young People of January 2021.

“This is good news and I am very grateful to everyone for all of their work. This final move, like the earlier ones, will be planned with the full involvement of staff and communicated clearly to patients and families."

Susan Goldsmith, NHS Lothian finance director and executive lead on the project, said she is looking forward to seeing all children's services together in the new facility and to have more detailed discussions on the final phase of the move.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated the hospital was set to open on January 25, 2021. This is incorrect. The completion of works is due on January 25. An opening date has not been set yet. The Edinburgh Evening News apologises to NHS Lothian for the initial error.

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