The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire)
Health bosses and contractors to look at impact on new hospitals
Health bosses are to meet with contractors over potential further delays to two lifesaving Aberdeen hospitals.
The Baird Family Hospital and Anchor Centre at Foresterhill were initially due to open to patients next year.
But in January it was announced the £163 million project had fallen two years behind schedule, and at least £60m over budget.
It is thought the timescale could now slip further, with building work likely to be impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
A meeting will now take place with NHS Grampian chiefs and contractors to determine what steps can be taken to keep the project on track.
North-east Conservative MSP Liam Kerr has said a balance must be struck between keeping workers and patients safe, and stopping the cost of the project, which stands at £223m, from rising further.
NHS Grampian said the setback was caused by four key points, including a design review triggered by the construction issues that emerged at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow and the Sick Kids Hospital in Edinburgh.
In addition, it said its initial budget planning “did not sufficiently reflect” how complicated construction of the facilities would be, while difficulties within the building sector meant contractors’ estimates had come in higher than expected.
Mr Kerr wrote to Health Secretary Jeanne Freeman, who said work is under way to keep the project on course.
She added: “The design review will provide assurance that the management and design of the project has taken cognisance of patient safety and construction standards, act as a pathfinder project for projects currently at design stage, and influence the reviews of the next phase of new-build and major refurbishment projects.
“The projected start date for construction is May, but NHS Grampian is meeting with contractors to discuss what the impact of the current situation regarding Covid-19 may be and what mitigation action could be taken if required,” added the health secretary.