Fears for Sick Kids plans: ‘Progress is proving painfully slow’

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THE growing fears about the future of NHS Lothian’s plans for a £250 million “world class” new Sick Kids hospital will worry all parents.

Generation after generation has grown to value the incredible skill and dedication of staff at the famous hospital – not just patients and their families from Edinburgh and the Lothians, but from across Scotland.

But what these medics achieve day-to-day is increasingly down to them overcoming the shortcomings of their ageing home in Sciennes.

In the words of a modern bureaucrat, parts of the Victorian building in which they work are clearly no longer “fit for purpose”.

The proposed new facility at Little France is exactly what medics and patients want – and need.

But despite outline plans being agreed progress is proving painfully slow.

Already four years behind schedule, there are now growing concerns that the project has become badly bogged down in complex negotiations and that a deal may not be struck for years.

And, to make matters worse, there are fears that the private finance plan under which it would be built will lead to a repeat of the on-going problems at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

At the moment, the whole process is fraught with complications.

But there is a simple solution – and one which is familiar to the Scottish Government.

The replacement of Glasgow’s Sick Kids has proved relatively straightforward – largely because it is being directly funded by the public purse.

It is time for the Scottish Government to reconsider its refusal to do the same thing for the Capital.

Steady on, Seb!

JUST how big does Seb Coe think that the 2012 Olympics are going to be?

London organisers have been at pains to let the public know about potential travel disruption and congestion hotspots in and around the UK capital. Fair enough.

But now we have billboard ads in Edinburgh warning of Olympic disruption?

Perhaps the women’s football at Hampden will cause the M8 to back up all the way to Hermiston Gait.

Or maybe the queue of people from Dundee trying to get to London will snarl up the City Bypass.

Still, we shouldn’t get too upset. At least Coe hasn’t tried to hijack Edinburgh Castle as a giant advertising hoarding.