The reopening of two cancer wards at a Glasgow hospital has been further delayed until next May.
Health secretary Jeane Freeman has written to local MSPs and MPs to inform them of ‘significant delays’ to restoring wards 2A and 2B at the Royal Hospital for Children (RHC).
They were closed in September 2018 for a ventilation system upgrade after three patients contracted infections.
Ms Freeman stated in her letter that the coronavirus pandemic had resulted in “significant challenges with supply chains and the continued effects of social distancing during construction works”.
She said the Scottish Government is still awaiting the finalised programme, but that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board is now expecting work to be “complete in May 2021”.
The RHC is part of the £842m Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) campus.
Patients on wards 2A and 2B at the RHC were transferred to the QEUH following the infection outbreak, which was linked to water-borne bacteria.
“This is about rebuilding confidence and restoring trust, which has been shattered following a series of cover-ups and mismanagement by health board chiefs.”Anas Sarwar, Labour MSP for Glasgow
Anas Sarwar, Labour MSP for Glasgow, said the new delay is disappointing for patients and their families.
He said: “The Scottish Government is right to demand assurances from the health board, which must urgently work towards re-opening the wards safely and swiftly.
“This is about rebuilding confidence and restoring trust, which has been shattered following a series of cover-ups and mismanagement by health board chiefs.
“It is vital that families are kept fully informed throughout the process.”
Earlier this year, Ms Freeman placed NHSGGC under increased scrutiny over ongoing issues relating to infection prevention, management and control at the QEUH and the RHC.
“Unfortunately, the schedule for the works has been impacted by Covid-19 restrictions.”Statement from National Health Service Greater Glasgow and Clyde
A statement from NHSGGC said: “We continue to work to complete the significant programme of works within Wards 2A and 2B to deliver what will be one of the safest environments within the UK and ensure we are taking every possible measure to reduce the likelihood of infection for patients treated in the unit.
“Unfortunately, the schedule for the works has been impacted by Covid-19 restrictions.
“Based on Scottish Government guidance for the construction sector and social distancing, current forecasts suggest the works will be completed in May 2021 although this may, of course, be impacted further by the ongoing response to the pandemic.”