Health Secretary Jeane Freeman today announced major checks will be carried out on the water, ventilation and drainage systems at Edinburgh's new children's hospital to ensure they are up to standard before any patients are sent to the building.
The opening of the new 233-bed hospital at Little France was called off earlier this month, just hours before the move from the current Sick Kids Hospital was due to start.
Ms Freeman ordered the halt after NHS Lothian revealed the ventilation system in the critical care unit did not meet national standards.
The Health Secretary visited the hospital today, but she gave no dates for when any transfer of services would begin.
She said NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) would carry out a detailed assessment of compliance of all building systems which could impact on the safety of patients and staff at the new site.
The assessment will be phased, with water, ventilation and drainage systems prioritised. A full report is expected in September and Ms Freeman said that would determine the time frame for services moving to the new hospital.
She announced NSS would also review current and recently completed major NHS capital projects elsewhere to ensure the same standards have been met.
And she said finance experts KPMG had begun an independent review of the governance arrangements for the new children's hospital on Monday to establish the factors that led to the delay.
Ms Freeman said: “I understand that this is a disappointing and worrying time for parents and carers of patients who have appointments at the new children’s hospital.
“However, safe, effective and high quality clinical services continue to be delivered from the existing site in Sciennes.
“The work carried out by NSS will give quality assurance on the water, ventilation and drainage systems and establish a time frame for services to move safely to the new hospital.
“Infection prevention must always be embedded within the design, planning, construction and commissioning activities of all new and refurbished healthcare facilities, which is why I have also instructed NSS to review current and recently completed major NHS capital projects and provide assurances that the same standards have been adhered to.
“KPMG are also now on site independently reviewing the governance arrangements for the new children’s hospital to establish the factors that led to the delay.
“I recognise and appreciate that NHS Lothian staff have made considerable efforts both in the lead up to the planned move and following the delay. I have written to staff today to thank them for their hard work and for all that they are doing to help manage the situation, and for their excellent track record of providing high-quality patient care.”
The decision to halt the move to the new Royal Hospital for Children and Young People was taken by the Health Secretary on July 4.
Parents and carers are being contacted directly by the team at the existing Royal Hospital for Sick Children to confirm arrangements for their children's appointment. Every effort is being made to retain the same appointment date and time wherever possible.
A dedicated helpline (0800 028 2816) is in place for families and carers to discuss any concerns about appointments or treatment with the clinical team already caring for their child.