The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire)

Health bosses and contractor­s to look at impact on new hospitals

- BY JAMES WYLLIE

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.

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