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Wed December 06 2023

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Scotland’s auditor calls for more answers on hospital building problems

19 Dec 19 Scotland’s public spending watchdog has said that questions remain unanswered about the delay to the opening of Edinburgh’s ‘Sick Kids’ hospital.

The Auditor General for Scotland says the reviews to date of the Royal Hospital for Children & Young People have been unable to establish a number of issues, including:

  • why specifications in the hospital's 2012 tender papers were inconsistent with national ventilation guidelines for critical care areas - an error that led to confusion;
  • and why a series of opportunities to spot the error - which caused the delay to this year’s opening of the hospital - were missed.

The report sets out the facts as they are known and draws on the reviews already carried out by KPMG and NHS National Services Scotland, as well as NHS Lothian's annual audit report.

It comes ahead of a public inquiry into the hospital project and raises broader issues for consideration, including:

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  • the clarity and application of the national ventilation guidelines, and how they were managedthe effectiveness of the oversight and scrutiny of the project
  • the role of all the parties involved, including project company IHSL's construction arm, Brookfield Multiplex, which also built the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow.

Caroline Gardner, auditor general for Scotland, said: "It's clear that the checks and balances around the construction of the new children's hospital didn't work, and the public inquiry may want to consider why that happened after similar issues had emerged around the building of schools in Edinburgh.

"It would also be beneficial to understand the role played by all the parties involved, and to explore why the issues that emerged at Glasgow's Queen Elizabeth hospital didn’t prompt greater scrutiny in Edinburgh.”

The chair was recently named for the public inquiry into the problems.

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