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Ventilation problems delay opening of new Edinburgh hospital

5 Jul 19 The planned opening of a major new children’s hospital in Edinburgh has been delayed indefinitely because of the last-minute discovery of issues with the ventilation system.

Scotland’s health secretary Jeane Freeman has delayed the move of patients, staff and services from the existing Royal Hospital for Sick Children to the new site at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. The move was due to have taken place on Tuesday 9th July. Her decision was taken following final safety checks, revealed that the ventilation system within the critical care department in the new hospital requires further work.

“While this issue has been caught by the final safety checks, I am disappointed and deeply concerned that this was not identified earlier,” she said. “I have asked that Health Facilities Scotland undertake an investigation to determine how the hospital got to this advanced stage before it was discovered that the ventilation system fell below the standards expected. This work will cover both technical and governance aspects of the project.

Freeman has directed the health board to act as quickly as practicable to ensure all aspects of the hospital, including the ventilation system, meet the necessary national standards. The board has been instructed to set out a plan to phase the move from the old hospital to the new site once it is safe to do so.

She said: “There is no greater responsibility of the NHS than to ensure the clinical safety of their patients, not least when those patients are children. In order to be absolutely sure that patient safety is delivered, I have no choice but to postpone NHS Lothian’s planned move to the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People.

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“It is vital that patient safety remains paramount, which is why I have asked the health board to stop all moves until assurances have been given that the new site is entirely compliant with the relevant health technical standards.  

“Departments within the hospital will move over on a phased basis as soon as it is safe to do so. This work will benefit from external quality assurance from Health Facilities Scotland and Health Protection Scotland and the plan for these moves will be submitted to Scottish government for approval.”

Work on the £150m project began in 2015.

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