November 9, 2019 at 5:00 am

Edinburgh‘s new Sick Kids Hospital won‘t open till autumn 2020


Edinburgh’s new Sick Kids Hospital will not open until next autumn, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman announced today.

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And she said the work needed to bring it up to the required standard would cost an estimated £16 million.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman stopped the opening in July after a problem was found with the ventilation system.

Ms Freeman also told the Scottish Parliament the government will send in a senior programme director to NHS Lothian to take responsibility for day to day delivery of the hospital until the site is fully occupied.

Her statement to MSPs comes two months after she ordered a last-minute halt to the planned opening of the new £150 million hospital in July after it was found the ventilation system in the critical care unit did not meet national standards.

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She said in addition to the problem in critical care, it had now been established remedial action was required on the quality of work in a number of areas, with specific issues identified in haematology / oncology; some remedial and precautionary actions were also recommended in the water supply system; and “active monitoring” of drainage and plumbing had also been advised.

“This is work that will take time.” she said. “I have concluded that children‘s service will remain at the current site until next autumn.”

The new Sick Kids hospital was originally planned to open in 2012

She said she expected the department of clinical neurosciences, due to be transferred from the Western General, should be able to move in spring next year.

Ms Freeman said: “My overriding priority is that the children and families who depend on these hospital services can receive them in the safest way possible. The current situation is not one anyone would chose – but it is one I am determined to resolve.”


It was on July 4 that Ms Freeman halted the opening of the new hospital. Staff and patients who were due to transfer to the new site next to the Royal Infirmary at Little France have instead had to remain at the current Sick Kids hospital in Sciennes.

But because the new building had been officially transferred from the developers to NHS Lothian as long ago as February, the health board has been paying £1.4 million a month for the unopened hospital since then.

Meanwhile opposition politicians have called for an inquiry into what went wrong.

: An architect involved in the project told the Evening News because of political pressure to avoid further delays.

Another source close to the project revealed the basement of the hospital had been due to drainage problems.

And an agency worker who worked on fitting fire detectors to the ventilation system voiced over alleged lack of checks on the work.

As well as the Sick Kids hospital, the new site will also be home to services from the department of clinical neurosciences at the Western General and the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. Facilities include 242 beds, ten theatres, a children’s emergency department and 13 wards.


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