Covid Scotland: Jeane Freeman announces further delay to Edinburgh Sick Kids hospital

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Completion of work on Edinburgh’s new Sick Kids hospital has been delayed by two weeks after a group of key workers needed to self-isolate.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman announced the latest delay to the opening of the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh to MSPs in Holyrood.

Asked by Liberal Democrat health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton when the hospital would be completed, she said this had been pushed back by another fortnight.

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The Health Secretary stated: “In May last year I informed Parliament work on the hospital was expected to be completed by January 25 2021.

“But I did at that time highlight how Covid-19 may adversely affect that timeline.

“As a result of a key engineering team needing to self-isolate for two weeks and other Covid related amendments to working practices, the completion date of the hospital has been delayed by two weeks until February 8 this year.”

Ms Freeman added that a number of services had already transferred “safely” to the new site in Edinburgh’s Little France – saying neurosurgery had been moved there in July, and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services were also transferred there earlier this month.

A report in August last year revealed a mistake in a spreadsheet several years ago contributed to an earlier delay in the opening of the new hospital.

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The new facility had been due to open in July 2019, but Ms Freeman halted the move from the existing site after final compliance checks revealed the ventilation system within the critical care department of the new building did not meet the necessary standards.

A review commissioned for NHS Lothian found a spreadsheet in 2012 incorrectly stated air change rate in critical care rooms should be four changes per hour, rather than 10 – with “human error” blamed for this.

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