Ventilation issues at Scottish hospital raised with NHS board three years ago

Delays attributed in part to the ventilation system at the new buildings were announced last month

NHS Grampian was made aware of ventilation issues which contributed to further delays at two new hospital buildings three years ago, it has been reported.

The Baird Family Hospital, which would provide maternity and breast screening services, and the cancer-treating Anchor Centre were due to be open in 2020, but have faced delays and budget overspends of almost £100 million.

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Last month, delays attributed in part to the ventilation system at the new buildings, which will be built on the grounds of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, were announced.

The Baird Family Hospital's original design. Picture: GrahamThe Baird Family Hospital's original design. Picture: Graham
The Baird Family Hospital's original design. Picture: Graham

But a key stage assurance review (KSAR) by NHS officials, released to the BBC under Freedom of Information legislation, "identified multiple concerns in relation to the development of the ventilation strategy that, from the evidence presented, do not appear to have been addressed".

According to the BBC, the health board's infection prevention and control (IPC) teams had been tied up by the pandemic and unable to support the building of the facilities, but the board has said such teams are now heavily involved in the construction.

Some of the issues, the board claimed, were due to changes in national guidance stemming from ventilation issues at hospitals in Edinburgh and Glasgow, which are being probed by a public inquiry.

A spokesman for NHS Grampian said: "We welcome the robust scrutiny that NHS Assure brings to major infrastructure projects like The Baird Family Hospital and Anchor Centre.

"We are actively working with them to improve the areas highlighted in the KSAR report, a high proportion of which relate to governance.

"Many of the points raised are due to changes in guidance and process, that came following issues with the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow and the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh.

"In the majority of cases, our teams were already aware of and actively working to address the issues and opportunities raised, prior to the publication of the KSAR.

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"Our IPC team is now embedded within the project board delivering these complex clinical buildings, so that when the Anchor Centre and Baird Family Hospital open their doors, they will provide the best possible levels of care for patients.

The Anchor Centre is reportedly due to open in October, with the Baird Family Hospital to open in September of next year.

North East MSP Liam Kerr said there were still "major questions" surrounding the project, adding the level of secrecy was "intolerable".

The fresh details emerged as accident-and-emergency (A&E) waiting times rose in the most recent week, with the number of people waiting more than four hours increasing to more than one third.

According to figures released from Public Health Scotland yesterday, 65.8 per cent of attendances at A&E in the week up to May 7 were seen and subsequently discharged, transferred or admitted within four hours.

The figure dropped from 69.7 per cent the previous week.

The Scottish Government aims to ensure 95 per cent of attendances are seen within four hours, a target that has not been met since the early months of the pandemic.

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