Children’s hospital opening date delayed until next year

Flaws in the ventilation system have delayed the opening of the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh.

Remedial work on Edinburgh’s delayed children’s hospital will be completed by January next year, health secretary Jeane Freeman has confirmed.

Following numerous delays, the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People was eventually set to open last summer.

However, a typo in a spreadsheet was part of a “collective failure” that led to a safety flaw in the building’s ventilation system.

With only a few days before the first patients were due to arrive, the Scottish Government stepped in to stop it from opening.

Remedial work worth £16m – which included fixing the air flow in critical care rooms – was carried out and the hospital began to deliver outpatient services in July.

It also already hosts the Department of Clinical Neurosciences, along with a number of administrative support staff.

The hospital’s full opening date was scheduled for autumn, however it was put under review due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Wednesday, Freeman told MSPs there was now a “confirmed timeline” that the work will be completed in full by January 25, 2021.

She said: “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’s finance director, said reaching this new stage had taken a “huge amount of dedication and commitment” from both the project team and contractors on site.

She added: “I know I am not alone, in looking forward to seeing all of our children’s services together in the fantastic new facility that is the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People.

“I am delighted that we can now start to have discussions on the final phase of this move with greater clarity and conviction.”

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