Long-awaited children’s hospital faces more delays

The Royal Hospital for Sick Children and Young People in Edinburgh was due to open in July last year.

The delayed opening of a new children’s hospital could be further postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, the health secretary has said.

The Royal Hospital for Sick Children and Young People in Edinburgh was expected to open in July last year but concerns over ventilation issues just days before patients were due to be moved in led to delays.

Revised plans to open the hospital this autumn are now under review, Jeane Freeman said.

In a response to a question from Angela Constance, the SNP MSP for Almond Valley, Ms Freeman said: “I have been informed by NHS Lothian that due to complexities with the remaining work and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, this has led to possible changes to the delivery of the programme of works to address the issues of patient safety in clinical care and haemato-oncology.

“NHS Lothian is working closely with Integrated Health Solutions Lothian (IHSL) to ensure delivery of the programme as close to the time frame of a full handover in autumn 2020 but this time frame is now under review.

“A refreshed programme is likely to be available during the second half of May and I will of course keep parliament updated.”

She added: “There continues to be significant positive progress with the clinically agreed move of the Department of Clinical Neurosciences remaining on track with NHS Lothian due to take occupancy this month.”

In March, former NHS Lothian chairman Brian Houston accused Ms Freeman of lying over circumstances surrounding the last-minute delay.

Ms Freeman said she fundamentally disagreed with Mr Houston’s “reported assertions and accusations”.

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