All new NHS building plans in Scotland put on hold for two years

The Scottish Government has told NHS health boards there is no more money for building projects.

All new NHS building plans in Scotland put on hold for two years iStock

All new plans to build hospitals, surgeries and treatment centres in Scotland have been put on hold for at least two years.

The building of more than a dozen facilities has been paused after the Scottish Government told NHS boards across the country there is no money available for the projects.

A network of ten treatment centres that had been planned across Scotland is the biggest project impacted by the decision.

The plan was set up to deliver around 40,000 new elective surgeries, diagnostics, and other procedures by 2026.

Several projects that were planned for Dr Gray's Hospital in Elgin will be put on hold.Dr Gray’s Hospital

Building projects across the UK are being strained as construction and material costs surge.

The Scottish Government said its capital budget from the UK Government had been reduced by 10% in real terms.

It described its finances as “extremely challenging” and pointed to the budget in December which had to deal with a £1.5bn financial black hole.

A spokesperson said a revised infrastructure plan will be published this spring.

Where in Scotland are projects being put on hold?

NHS Lothian confirmed it has stopped all new project development including a new cancer centre and eye hospital in Edinburgh as well as a national treatment centre in Livingston.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran said plans to build a national treatment centre for Carrick Glen Hospital will be put on hold.

A treatment centre in Aberdeen will be paused, NHS Grampian confirmed, alongside a new MRI scanner and a refurbished mental health ward at Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin.

NHS Highlands said a replacement hospital in Fort William is impacted by the Scottish Government’s announcement alongside the refurbishment of Caithness General Hospital and the maternity ward at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.

Plans to relocate two GP centres to Cowal Community Hospital in Dunoon will also be paused while two new hubs in Wick and Thurso are on hold.

NHS Lanarkshire confirmed the replacement for Monklands Hospital in Airdrie and a national treatment centre in Cumbernauld will be delayed.

A national treatment centre at Perth Royal Infirmary is also impacted, NHS Tayside said.

A national treatment centre planned for Carrick Glen Hospital will not go ahead over the next two years as previously planned.STV News

Dr Iain Kennedy, chair of BMA Scotland, said there was a clear lack of cash for Scotland’s health service.

He said: “While there will be debates about funding and budgets that are available – both from the UK Government and managed by the Scottish Government – there is no doubt this shows again that our NHS simply doesn’t have the resources it needs, either in day to day spending or in terms of capital projects.

“While we continue to have concerns about how national treatment centres would be staffed, the Scottish Government have made them a central plank of long-term plans to tackle waiting lists – so any delays could have serious implications for reducing the time people spend waiting for vital treatment – which is already typically far too long.”

“Another key concern would be the backlog of maintenance and improvement required across the NHS estate in general practice and in our hospitals – which is already impacting on capacity and ability to deliver operations and effective care.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The UK Government did not inflation-proof its capital budget which has resulted in nearly a 10% real-term cut in the Scottish Government’s capital funding over the medium-term between 2023-24 and 2027-28.

“The result of this cut is that new health capital projects have currently been paused. Our emphasis for the immediate future will be on addressing backlog maintenance and essential equipment replacement.

“We are investing £314m in 2024/25 in health infrastructure allowing all major projects in construction to be completed – this includes the Baird and Anchor Hospitals in Aberdeen, Parkhead Health Centre and the Golden Jubilee Expansion Phase 2.

“In 2023 we opened two National Treatment Centres in NHS Fife and NHS Highland, with two further centres opening in 2024 in NHS Forth Valley and the Golden Jubilee Hospital.” 

A UK Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government is currently receiving a record £41bn per year funding settlement from the UK Government – the largest in the history of devolution and one that was further topped up by decisions taken at Autumn Statement.

“It can also borrow up to £450m for capital investment on top of this record funding, and the UK Government has agreed to inflation-proof that limit going forward.”

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