Farewell messages on Edinburgh’s Sick Kids Hospital walls painted over as move indefinitely postponed

Mairi Stark, a member of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and lead for general paediatrics, pictures by the wall of farewell messages. Pic: Greg Macvean.
Mairi Stark, a member of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and lead for general paediatrics, pictures by the wall of farewell messages. Pic: Greg Macvean.
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IT was just two months ago that young patients were encouraged to graffiti farewell messages on the walls of the building which has treated thousands of children for more than 150 years ahead of a planned move to a brand new children’s hospital.

But now the interior walls of the old Sick Kids hospital in Edinburgh have been repainted – erasing the children’s messages – due to the indefinite postponement of the transfer to the £150 million new facility at Little France.

The move to the new hospital was postponed in July, just days before the city’s children’s services was due to decant to the new flagship facility due to problems with drainage and ventilation. It is now not known when the move will take place – with fears that it could be postponed by up to a year.

The repainting, which NHS Lothian said was to create a “bright and presentable environment” for patients, has so far cost a total of £4,311.13.

Notices put up on the freshly painted walls in the outpatients’ department of the hospital state: “Thanks to everyone who wrote their farewell messages in OPD, but now the move to the new Childrens and Young People’s Hospital is postponed, we have repainted the department and cannot allow any more writing on the walls.”

Although an investigation into the problems is expected to be finished this year, no date has yet been put forward by the Scottish Government’s health secretary Jeane Freeman or NHS Lothian for when the new hospital will open.

Scottish Labour health spokeswoman Monica Lennon said: “It is a real shame that the farewell messages at the Children’s Hospital have had to be painted over.”

George Curley, director of operations and facilities at NHS Lothian, said: “There is a regular painting programme in the Royal Hospital for Sick Children which we have continued. We recently painted a few small areas including the Outpatients area so that we have a bright and presentable environment for patients and their families.

“We have left some touching messages from patients and staff that were written at the entrance.”

jane.bradley@jpimedia.co.uk