NHS edges closer to Royal Edinburgh redevelopment

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THE redevelopment of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital has come a step closer with the approval of a vital document.

The initial agreement has been rubber-stamped by the Scottish Government’s Capital Investment Group, one of a series of steps that NHS Lothian must take to enable work on the hospital to get under way.

It gives the health board permission to start developing an outline business case for the first of five phases of the project. The Royal Edinburgh, in Morningside, is due to be entirely redeveloped on the same site over the course of a decade.

The first phase will see a new building created for the hospital’s adult acute mental health inpatient service and the intensive psychiatric care service.

The current tally of 112 beds on the wards will be reduced to 90 beds in single rooms with en-suite facilities, as part of a move towards providing more mental health care in the community, rather than in hospital.

It is planned to complete the first phase by 2014-15.

Staff have waited years for the hospital to be redeveloped, and many of its buildings are acknowledged to be so old that they are no longer fit for purpose. The Royal Edinburgh’s specialist services include centres for the treatment of eating disorders, alcohol problems and young people’s mental health. Some services at the Astley Ainslie and Liberton hospitals may also be relocated to the Royal Edinburgh site.

Chairman of the hospital’s stakeholder board, David Small, said: “I am absolutely delighted that we have got to this exciting stage, which is down to a lot of hard work by our staff and members of the project’s stakeholder board.

“The project aims to deliver the latest, modern inpatient accommodation providing high-quality patient care. Work on the outline business case begins immediately and will continue for several months. It will also include drawing up a master plan.” The project is to be one of the first supported by the Developing Markets for Third Sector Providers programme, a £1.5 million scheme launched by the Scottish Government in January to help the commissioners of large projects work more closely with the voluntary sector.

It is run by a consortium called Ready for Business, which includes accountancy firm KPMG, the think-tank Social Value Lab and law firm MacRoberts LLP.

Dick Fitzpatrick, NHS Lothian project manager for the redevelopment, said: “I am extremely pleased to have reached this important milestone in the redevelopment of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital Campus.”