Edinburgh's Eye Pavilion: Opposition MSPs call for early progress on new hospital after pledge by Nicola Sturgeon

Opposition politicians say they want to help progress work on a replacement for Edinburgh’s Eye Pavilion as quickly as possible after the election following a pledge from Nicola Sturgeon.

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 7:00 am

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The First Minister told the Evening News earlier this week there was “no doubt” about the SNP’s commitment to replacing the 50-year-old facility which has been declared no longer fit for purpose.

And she told campaigners sceptical on the issue: “Sometimes people have to hear yes for an answer when that is effectively what they're being given.”

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Nicola Sturgeon is now pledging to replce Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion Pic Greg Macvean

The Scottish Government told NHS Lothian in December it would not fund “now or in the foreseeable future” a new eye hospital at Little France to replace the Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion on Chalmers Street, even though it had agreed the project in principle in 2018.

But the SNP manifesto for next month’s elections promises to replace the Eye Pavilion as part of a £10 billion investment in health facilities across Scotland over the next ten years.

Ms Sturgeon said she had a close family member who had relied on the services of the Eye Pavilion for many years. “So I know how vital it is and I know how much it needs to be replaced.”

Lothian Tory MSP Miles Briggs said there was a strong cross-party consensus to ensure the new hospital was progressed as a priority as quickly as possible after the election.

He said: “If the SNP and the First Minister are now committing to this, we need to get it back on track as soon as possible. For those of us lucky enough to be elected I think this is the number one priority for Lothian MSPs to get the new Eye Pavilion funded and moving forward.”

And Edinburgh Southern Labour MSP Daniel Johnson said: “This is a positive statement from Nicola Sturgeon but we need to continue to ask questions about what renewal will mean and I look forward to constructive engagement after the election to ensure we have world-class eyecare treatment and research facilities in Edinburgh.”

A cross-party group of eight Lothian MSPs have sent a letter to Ms Sturgeon asking for clarification on a number of points and requesting a meeting to discuss matters in more detail following the election.

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