Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Sick Children's Hospital in Edinburgh review ordered

Design drawing of new hospital

A full safety review into the delayed Sick Children's Hospital in Edinburgh has been ordered by the Scottish government.

The £150m facility was due to open on 2 July but last minute inspections uncovered problems with the ventilation in a critical care ward.

The review will assess the water, ventilation and drainage systems.

Similar checks will be made at other recently completed major NHS facilities across Scotland.

This will include the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, which was built by the same contractor responsible for the Sick Children's Hospital in Edinburgh and has also had problems with ventilation systems.

The NHS-led review is due to be finished by September but no date for when the new hospital will be ready has been given.

It has also been revealed that private consultants KPMG have been hired by the Scottish government to probe "governance arrangements" for the new hospital and establish the factors which led to the delay.

Image caption The delay to the new site was announced the day before patients and equipment were to begin moving to the site on 2 July

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has revealed that NHS Lothian will get additional support from the Scottish government because of the significant variation from its plans.

She said: "I understand that this is a disappointing and worrying time for parents and carers of patients who have appointments at the new children's hospital.

"However, safe, effective and high quality clinical services continue to be delivered from the existing site in Sciennes.

"The work carried out by NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) will give quality assurance on the water, ventilation and drainage systems and establish a timeframe for services to move safely to the new hospital."

She added: "Infection prevention must always be embedded within the design, planning, construction and commissioning activities of all new and refurbished healthcare facilities, which is why I have also instructed NSS to review current and recently completed major NHS capital projects and provide assurances that the same standards have been adhered to."

Image caption The corridors of the new hospital will remain empty for some time

The new 233-bed hospital will form part of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh campus, providing care for children and young people to about 16 years of age.

It will also have 10 theatres and a children's emergency department.

The site, which also includes Clinical Neurosciences and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, has already faced a number of problems and delays.

Ms Freeman was asked in parliament last month if NHS Lothian had been assured the same problems did not exist at the new site.

The health secretary said NHS Lothian told her it would not take ownership of the building until it was "absolutely assured" those steps had been taken.

Contractor Multiplex previously said its work was signed off as complete by an independent certifier on 22 February, when it handed over the building to NHS Lothian.

Image caption Staff were ready to leave the old Sick Kids hospital

Scottish Conservative health spokesman Miles Briggs MSP said Holyrood's health committee should investigate the saga.

He said: "Families and staff will look at this announcement and wonder why these things weren't demanded of the construction firms from the outset.

"After all, the nationalists have had seven years of delays in which they could have ensured these boxes were ticked.

"The only way to establish the extent of what has gone wrong, why it has happened, and how we can ensure it's not repeated, it to have a full Scottish parliament inquiry."

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