TRANSPLANT and critical care services are set to expand ahead of the opening of the £150 million Sick Kids Hospital in 2017.
Construction is under way on a purpose-built renal and transplant unit at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary (ERI), which adjoins the new Sick Kids Hospital and the department for clinical neurosciences (DCN) site in Little France.
Critical care services will also expand to include a 42-bed unit at the ERI which will house neurosurgical intensive care beds from the Western General Hospital, so that neurological patients are close to the DCN when it opens.
The renal and transplant unit will increase by four beds and two isolation rooms, and NHS bosses have also promised improved daylight in the department and improved patient accommodation.
Jim Crombie, chief officer for acute hospital services at NHS Lothian, said: “We are delighted to see these works starting. Redevelopments in a working hospital require a great deal of preparation and no shortage of expertise.
“These works will see a modern unit created for our renal and transplant patients within the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. The unit will include 50 per cent ensuite rooms, an increase in bed numbers and new ensuite accommodation for relatives.
“The works to our critical care services are vital for the integration of the new hospital when services move onto site in late autumn 2017. On top of this it will help staff to work more effectively together, improving our patient experiences and aiding recovery during their time in our care.”
Dr Jean Turner, patron of the Scotland Patients Association, said patient safety was “paramount” during the process, as some critical care beds will be moved into other high dependency areas while the construction takes place.
The retired GP said: “You have really got to think hard about all the situations which could arise before you begin the move. Patient safety must be paramount.”
She continued: “One would hope that the main factor is that they get the move done as quickly as possible so [as] few people [as possible] are inconvenienced.”
Lyn McDonald, NHS Lothian site director at the hospital, said: “Patient safety remains our top priority and we have thorough plans in place to ensure that the hospital continues to operate as normal throughout these important works. We would apologise for any inconvenience that these works may cause and thank you for your understanding as we look to improve services within the hospital, and prepare for the Royal Hospital for Sick Children and department of clinical neurosciences moving to site in 2017.”