THE consortium behind Edinburgh’s delayed new Sick Kids hospital has yet to commit to carrying out the crucial work needed on the ventilation system in the critical care unit, the problem which led to the opening of the building being postponed for a year.
Lothian NHS board was told problems with IHSL’s supply chain meant it had not so far been able to guarantee the upgrade necessary to bring the ventilation up to national standards.
Finance director Susan Goldsmith said: “In terms of the rectification of critical care and making changes to haematology/oncology we have to go through a contractual process with IHSL. The first step is that IHSL agree they can and will undertake the work. At this point IHSL have not been able to confirm they are able to undertake the work. They are a very willing partner and they have been actively engaging with us at a senior level. But they have some commercial issues with their supply chain, which they are urgently trying to resolve.
“If we don’t get that resolved we will need to consider what our next steps are.”
Board member and Leith GP Dr Richard Williams asked for an assurance contingencies were already being looked at so there was no further delay if it turned out IHSL and their contractors could not deliver.
Ms Goldsmith said: “We had initial discussions about what our options were and we may just have to start pushing forward with a contingency plan.”
Ms Goldsmith told the board many issues around the building had been resolved with the contractors, but some had not, notably financial liability for air handling units, part of the ventilation system.
NHS Lothian is also waiting to hear the conclusions of a report on any remedial work needed in three critical areas of provision in the new hospital - electrical, fire and medical gases.
And the Auditor General has told Health Secretary Jeane Freeman she intends to produce a report on the new Sick Kids in the light of the findings of the independent reviews of the governance of the project and the ventilation, water and drainage systems. It is expected at the end of November.