Go-ahead for mental health unit in grounds of Royal Ed

An artist's impression of phase one of the development. Picture: comp

An artist's impression of phase one of the development. Picture: comp

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WORK to develop a £48 million mental health unit in the grounds of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital is set to begin later this year after the Scottish Government gave the the business case the green light.

The first phase of the redevelopment will include new state-of-the-art premises for adult acute mental health inpatient services and older people’s mental health assessment unit.

It will also contain an intensive psychiatric care service (IPCU) and new Robert Fergusson national brain injury unit.

A planning application was submitted following a public consultation in June last year but while phase one could be completed in 2016, the entire project could run to ten years.

David Small, chairman of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital project board, NHS Lothian, said the scheme was “within sight of construction” while agreement was expected on the full business case in September.

He said: “We have listened to what matters to people and are confident that the plans will deliver an excellent mental health facility that will open a new chapter in the hospital’s proud 200 year history.”

Work to prepare the Royal Edinburgh Hospital campus, which includes tree removal and demolishing the Scottish Ambulance Service building, will begin this week.

Health Secretary Alex Neil welcomed the project milestone which he said would provide a “modern mental health care facility”.

He said: “Plans for the new facility reflect the fact that mental health services should not exist in silos but be fully embedded into community care to deliver better outcomes and joined-up care for patients.

“The new campus, which is part of the Scottish Government’s £750m investment in health infrastructure across Scotland, will also see efficient use of energy, water and waste management to reduce costs and carbon emissions.”

Lothian Labour MSP Sarah Boyack said: “This is an important early step in delivering modern mental health care facilities for patients in the Lothians. It is vital that the health board and Scottish Government continue to work together to ensure this project is delivered on time.

“A few months ago NHS Lothian revealed an outstanding repairs bill of over £94m and the Royal Edinburgh accounts for almost a third of this. We are still a decade away from the project being completed. I’m seeking assurances that continued investment will be made to ensure that facilities are properly maintained in the interim period.”

The redevelopment of the hospital site will be undertaken in partnership with Hub South East Scotland which has appointed Morrison Construction as the preferred phase one contractor.

Paul McGirk, chief executive of Hub South East Scotland, said: “Formal approval of the business case is a positive milestone and we are delighted with the progress being made on this project.”

david.mccann@edinburghnews.com