More than £1m spent on new eye hospital for Edinburgh before Scottish Government pulled plug on project

More than £1 million had already been spent on a new eye hospital for the Capital when the Scottish Government pulled the plug on the project.

Thursday, 18th February 2021, 7:00 am
The Scottish Government says it will not fund a replacement for the Princess Alexandria Eye Pavilion Pic Greg Macvean

Opposition politicians said unless ministers reversed their decision the investment would be money down the drain.

The government approved an initial agreement for a replacement of the Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion in 2018 and contractors were chosen to build a £45 million new hospital at Little France. NHS Lothian was told in December last year that the government would no longer fund the project.

But details released by the health board in response to a Freedom of Information request by Lothian Tory MSP Miles Briggs shows a total of £1,011,253 had already been spent on the project.

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That included £640,054 for the main contractors John Graham Construction Ltd, £185,359 to other contractors and £127,727 on the internal project team.

Mr Briggs said: “The fact that NHS Lothian has already committed over £1 million towards a new Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion shows just how committed they are to a new hospital.

“If SNP Ministers don’t reverse their decision to withhold £45 million for a new eye hospital then that money will be wasted."

He said it was another £1m lost to the health service at a time of financial pressure.

" After the initial agreement was approved by the Scottish Government, contractors were hired and spent over two years drawing up designs. Taxpayers will be angry that here we are with £1m down the drain on a project they have now pulled the plug on. The government needs to at least pause this decision and think again."

When the plans for the new hospital were announced, it was said it would serve around 84,000 outpatients a year and carry out nearly 12,000 operations a year by 2030.

Mr Briggs said: “A new eye hospital has been central to NHS Lothian’s recovery plans, for a number of years, to reach performance targets and this was prior to Covid-19.

“The next challenge after Covid-19 will be getting services back on track and start reducing waiting times, which have grown significantly longer during the pandemic.”

The Scottish Government has been approached for comment.

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