Inquiry call as hospital is delayed by a year
● Freeman blames NHS Lothian errors ● Remedial work alone set to cost £16m
Edinburgh’s new Sick Kids Hospital will not open for another year, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman announced, sparking calls for a public inquiry into the debacle.
Ms Freeman told MSPS yesterday the work required would cost an extra £16 million – which will be met by her department – and the “double running” of the current Sick Kids and the new building at Little France was costing between £6m and £7m. That is on top of the £1.35m NHS Lothian has to pay every month to the consortium which built the hospital.
Edinburgh’s new Sick Kids Hospital will not open for another year, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has announced.
An NHS investigation found further issues with ventilation, water and drainage systems at the new £150 million hospital in addition to the ventilation problem in the critical care unit which led Ms Freeman to order a lastminute cancellation of the planned opening scheduled for July.
She told MSPS yesterday the work required would cost an extra £16m – which will be met by her department – and the “double running” of the current Sick Kids and the new building at Little France was costing between £6m and £7m. That is on top of the £1.35m NHS Lothian has to pay every month to the consortium which built the hospital.
Ms Freeman also announced the Scottish Government was sending in a senior programme director to NHS Lothian to take over the running of the project until the building is fully opened.
She told the parliament her overriding priority was patient safety.
She said: “The work will be carried out as quickly as possible, but to ensure it is done properly and to give maximum certainty to staff and patients I have concluded that children’s services will remain on the current site until next autumn.”
But she said the Department of Clinical Neurosciences, due to be transferred to the new site from the Western General, should move next spring.
Ms Freeman said a separate report by consultants KPMG on governance of the project set out “a clear picture of human error and confusion over interpretation of standards and guidance and missed opportunities to spot and rectify that error”.
Ms freeman told msps :“this is a publicly funded project of strategic importance, which has not been delivered by NHS Lothian in compliance with the standards and guidance. That is unacceptable. There are clearly issues to be considered now about accountability within the board.”
Lothian MSP and Tory health spokesman Miles Briggs accused Ms Freeman of trying to absolve SNP ministers from responsibility for seven years of delay – the hospital was originally planned for 2012. And he said it looked like she intended to “hang NHS managers out for this problem”.
Mr Briggs claimed staff and families would be sceptical about whether the hospital really would open next autumn. “They’ve been promised – year after year – that new timescales will be adhered to, and they’ve been repeatedly let down.”
Labour health spokeswoman Monica Lennon called for a full public inquiry, but Ms Freeman said she did not see what difference an inquiry would make.
The call for a public inquiry was also echoed by Tom Waterson, branch chair for health union Unison. He said: “We need an inquiry into this whole fiasco to find out who knew what and when.”
0 The Royal Hospital for Children & Young People at Little France was due to open in 2012. The Department of Clinical Neurosciences is expected to move there in spring