Revealed: Why Edinburgh’s new Sick Kids Hospital is facing further delays

Hot water floods the hospital. Floors ceilings wall and doors all damaged.' Water running all night unchecked. Pic: anonymous source
Hot water floods the hospital. Floors ceilings wall and doors all damaged.' Water running all night unchecked. Pic: anonymous source
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The opening of Edinburgh’s new Sick Kids Hospital is facing further delays due to three key outstanding elements to the £150 million facility, the Evening News can reveal.

An independent assessor deemed the hospital was not operational after failing to meet all the specifications with a number of issues still to be resolved.

The Evening News has learned the latest hold-up revolves around the design of the building’s drainage system, while inspectors also felt there was a need for more fire alarms. In addition, extra batteries are required to enhance temperature control and ventilation for those patients in isolated beds.

Contractors were expected to hand over the building to NHS Lothian at the end of last month. But there is still no completion date in sight for the facility.

Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said: “I find it staggering that contractors would not have built the new building to the specifications that are required and that so much work still needs to be done to meet specifications.

“It is families, patients and the tax payer who will be losing out if the project comes in over budget due to additional work and I have written to Audit Scotland to ask if they will be carrying out an audit of the new hospital.

“It will be essential to review the process used for hiring the contractor to build the new Sick Children’s hospital, so that these delays can be avoided the next time NHS Lothian needs to build a new hospital.”

New design solutions are to be agreed with the independent assessor, Arcadis UK, before a timeline for the work can be established.

It is the latest setback for the facility, which was originally due to open in the winter of 2012.

A protracted land swap deal held up proceedings before other problems emerged including partner firms running into financial difficulties and poor winter weather further hindering building work, pushing back the opening date from May to the autumn.

The Little France building was also flooded in June after a domestic hot water pipe burst overnight. However it is understood the damage arising as a result of the flood has not delayed construction of the building with extra workers drafted in to fix the issues.

NHS Lothian deputy chief executive Jim Crombie said: “It is not unusual in projects of this magnitude and complexity for challenges to arise, particularly as there are a significant number of elements where different technical solutions are possible.

“We are working closely with our contracted partners, IHSL Ltd and their building contractors Multiplex to agree design solutions for a number of outstanding areas. These include additional resilience for the building’s drainage system, additional fire detection systems and enhanced responsiveness in the ventilation ducts in some rooms.

“All parties are working closely to complete this world class facility as soon as possible.”