'Come clean on Sick Kids' call as statement due on Edinburgh hospital

Alex Cole-Hamilton wants answers on the Sick Kids "fiasco"
Alex Cole-Hamilton wants answers on the Sick Kids "fiasco"
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Liberal Democrats have called on Health Secretary Jeane Freeman to "come clean" on exactly what went wrong with Edinburgh's new Sick Kids Hospital when she makes a statement to the Scottish Parliament this afternoon.

Ms Freeman has promised to announce a timeline for the opening of the £150 million hospital following the last-minute halt she ordered to the transfer of service from the current Sick Kids after problems were discovered with the ventilation system.

Meanwhile a Freedom of Information request by the Lib Dems revealed NHS Lothian spent over £62,000 advertising the Sick Kids move to the new site at Little France with leaflets, radio clips and bus posters before it was called off.

NHS Lothian has been repaying £1.4 million a month since February to a private consortium for the unopened hospital.

Edinburgh Western MSP and Lib Dem health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said Ms Freeman needed to sort out the Sick Kids “fiasco”.

He said: “The Health Secretary needs to use today’s statement to tell parliament exactly what has gone wrong at the new Sick Kids and to come clean about when it’s going to be fixed.

“Patients and staff are understandably frustrated about the lack of information on why this brand new hospital is deserted.

“Monthly costs for the unopened hospital continue to pile up at an astonishing rate and now we know a further £62,000 was spent on advertising for a hospital move that never took place.

“The SNP Government should take this opportunity to set the record straight on this fiasco and give Edinburgh residents a clear timetable of action. At the moment we’re pouring more and more money down the drain without an end in sight.”

The advertising bill for the move included £8400 on printing; £19,937.28 on a door to door maildrop; £14,991 on radio advertising; and £18,756 on bus adverts.