Press "Enter" to skip to content

Jeane Freeman told to ‘get a grip’ on health delays after Glasgow’s £7m brain surgery units still out of use


See

loading...

photos
images

JEANE Freeman has been urged to “get a grip” on delays in across the NHS as two state-of-the art facilities lie empty on opposite ends of the country.

The Health Secretary is coming under increasing pressure to explain the problems plaguing multi-million-pound projects in both Glasgow and Edinburgh.

It has emerged that Glasgow’s £7 million brain surgery theatres have no fixed opening date, despite being delayed already for more than a year, while Edinburgh’s new children’s hospital had its opening cancelled by Freeman last week.

As reported by The Herald on Sunday, the new neurosurgery theatres at the Imaging Centre for Excellence in Glasgow have been lying empty after failing critical safety checks around ventilation.

  • Revealed: Emails show concerns from Glasgow NHS staff four years before QEUH inquiry launched

The facilities on the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) campus were supposed to replace the older brain surgery theatres in another building, which have had raw sewage leaking into them since 2015.

Despite promises in May by Glasgow University, which is managing the build, that the facilities would be open “within a few weeks”, six weeks later they are still out of use.

When asked, the institution now say the theatres will be open “in autumn”, but refused to give a specific date or even month for their completion.

Politicians have now urged Freeman to take control of the problems and give the public clear and accurate information about when their state-of-the-art medical facilities will be ready for use.

Previously, the Scottish Government said it had not provided any funding to the project and dismissed any responsibility for the delays. However, earlier this week Freeman admitted she was “accountable” for problems within the health service.

Her comments came after the opening of the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People was cancelled days before its planned opening date of Tuesday this week.

On July 4 Freeman announced there had been problems with ventilation meeting national standards and the opening had been postponed indefinitely.

During a TV interview about the delays, Freeman said: “At the end of the day, I am accountable for what happens in our health service and it will be for others to decide whether, at the end of the day, I am ultimately responsible for what has happened here.

“I don’t believe that is the case but that is not my decision.”

The children’s facility has been under construction for more than four years at a cost of £150m.

Monica Lennon MSP said the latest delay, combined with the lack of clarity on the Glasgow neurosurgery theatres, was “unacceptable”.

  • Herald on Sunday opinion: We deserve openness about NHS

The shadow health secretary for Scottish Labour said: “No-one is prepared to give a straight answer as to when the theatres will be in use.

“In May, we were told wait a few more weeks and that’s turned into Autumn. There appears to be no urgency or transparency on timescales and this is unacceptable.

“People who are waiting for brain surgery are being badly let down. The Herald on Sunday is rightly asking questions but journalists shouldn’t have to do the Health Secretary’s job for her.

“Jeane Freeman has visited the QEUH many times but she needs to go into the parts of the hospital that management don’t want her to see.

“It’s a disgrace that these theatres are lying empty. Our NHS needs to be properly resourced and run in the best interests of patients.”

Miles Briggs, the Scottish Conservatives’ health spokesman, said: “It is deeply concerning that it appears that there will be yet further delays to the opening of brain surgery theatres at the QEUH. This will be causing real frustration to patients and their families, who have been waiting for more than a year to be able to be treated there.

“I call on Jeane Freeman to get a grip on this situation and set out exactly when we can expect these facilities to be up and running. And given the high-profile problems caused by below standard ventilation at a number of new hospital sites across the country, Ms Freeman also needs to offer clear guarantees that similar problems will not impact on these brain surgery theatres at the QEUH.”

Alex Cole-Hamilton, health spokesman for the Scottish Liberal Democrats, added: “Millions of pounds have been spent getting these theatres up to scratch while people waiting on neurological procedures wait and wait.

“If Parliament were sitting we would expect the Health Secretary to come to the chamber and offer an explanation. She needs to tell the public why this delay is happening and how long it will be until it is resolved.”

  • Revealed: Emails show concerns from Glasgow NHS staff four years before QEUH inquiry launched

A University of Glasgow spokeswoman said: “The building was a collaboration between the University and the NHS and includes research facilities, along with a floor of operating theatres.

“We continue to work with the NHS to resolve the remaining issues and have agreed a programme of work to deliver compliant theatre facilities.

“Under the current programme, handover will take place in the autumn although we will continue to work for earlier handover dates if possible.

“We would like to apologise for the delay, but our focus has always been on ensuring that the facilities are completed to the highest possible standard.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “This project is being led by the University of Glasgow and has not received any direct funding from the Scottish Government.

“The delay is of course regrettable but we understand work to deliver these state-of-the-art facilities is now at an advanced stage.

“It’s important to note that all procedures which will transfer to these facilities continue to take place as normal in their current location with no impact on waiting times.”

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

loading...