IT HAS been through years of drawn-out planning issues, catastrophic financial difficulties and countless development setbacks.
But now, the project to create Scotland’s largest children’s hospital has reached a landmark stage after health bosses were handed the keys to the multi million pound development.
The new Royal Hospital for Children and Young People (RHCYP), colloquially known as the ‘Sick Kids,’ is set to open in July after the move was formalised this morning.
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The £150m replacement for the historic Sciennes Road hospital, based next to the Royal Infirmary at Little France, will include 242 bed spaces for patients and a 25-room hotel for close family members to stay nearby.
NHS Lothian deputy chief executive Jim Crombie said: “We are delighted to be moving in the summer. It has taken hard work from a great many people to get to this stage and I am thrilled that we now have possession of the building and can begin to make it ready to receive its first patients.”
“It has undeniably been a long road but we have been very clear from the outset that we wanted the best facility possible for patients, families and staff and that is what they shall get.”
He added: “Huge thanks go to everyone for their extraordinary patience and commitment to this vision”.
The hospital will house 62 departments from the existing facility, while the Department of Clinical Neurosciences and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services are to be relocated from the Western General and Royal Edinburgh hospitals respectively.
Despite originally being slated to open in winter 2012, the project has been repeatedly delayed by a series of issues, including a protracted land swap deal, partner firms running into financial difficulties, poor winter weather and a serious flood after a hot water pipe burst overnight.
Then in November, when the building was expected to be handed over to the NHS, an independent assessor refused to sign it off because it failed to meet all the specifications.
Over the next five months, the building is set to be fully kitted out to transform it into a state-of-the-art facility.
Current patients and staff will be relocated over a ten-day period from Friday, July 5 before the official opening on July 15.
Janice Mackenzie, Clinical Director on the reprovision project said: “The commissioning period is really important. Everything from furniture to sophisticated high tech equipment needs to be delivered, installed, and tested.
“Staff orientation and training is also a vital part of this process and they are eager to get going.”
She added: “It’s going to be an exciting time.”