The current facilities used by Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, the Department of Clinical Neurosciences and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children have served us very well for many years.
Multiple upgrades of the buildings and equipment have enabled us to keep pace with developments in these areas and to deliver high-quality care to our patients. However, there comes a point when a new building is required to deliver the services patients need in the best way possible.
I am sure I speak for the majority of staff in each of these three services when I say we are absolutely delighted that work is due to start on this new facility and that we now have a definite timeline for moving into the new building in 2017. The designs show that this will be a fantastic building to work in and in addition to improving the clinical services we deliver, it will provide a modern, light and spacious environment for patients, families, staff and visitors.
I could fill many pages with the benefits the new building will bring. Instead, I will concentrate on the “additional value” that this exciting project will make possible for patients.
The improved facilities for patients and families, including the increase in single rooms, ensuite facilities and new technology, will help to make the time spent in hospital more pleasant.
The specifically designed family hotel will mean that the experience for families whose child has to spend time in hospital is more homely. Where a newborn baby requires surgery, mums will find it easier to be with their baby in the immediate postoperative period as a result of the department of paediatric surgery moving next to the neonatal intensive care unit in Simpson’s.
Conjoined children’s and adult emergency departments will mean the most appropriate services are available to teenagers who currently do not always fit well into either service.
Patients in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service suffering from physical illness and mental health problems will benefit from the immediate availability of both specialities.
The Department of Clinical Neurosciences (DCN) will make neurology and neurosurgery available to all age groups on a single site, meaning potentially quicker treatment.
One great advantage will be that patients who present to the Emergency Department at the Royal Infirmary and who need neurosurgery will no longer need to be transferred to the Western General Hospital.
The incorporation of a helipad on the roof of the new building will play an important role in establishing the Royal Infirmary as a major trauma centre, and will provide the rapid treatment of patients involved in major trauma anywhere in south-east Scotland. This will be of particular benefit for patients with severe head injuries who need a neurosurgical procedure.
The most modern imaging equipment within the Department of Clinical Neurosciences, along with its adjacency to the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic and the Clinical Research Imaging Centre, will further enhance its position as a leading clinical and academic neurosciences centre.
Finally, the facilities for teaching and research at the Royal Infirmary site are exceptional. The co-location of the Department of Child Life and Health with the University of Edinburgh Medical School will further improve patient care from a strong teaching and research base.
I am in no doubt that when the time comes to move to our new home, we will give ourselves the best opportunity to further deliver the standards of care, expertise and innovation that we have done in the past for many years to come.
• Dr Eddie Doyle is associate medical director for Women’s and Children’s Services at NHS Lothian