Edinburgh Sick Kids and QEUH £146m bill due to SNP mismanagement, claim Labour

Construction failings and issues with the management of two flagship hospitals have cost the taxpayer almost £150m, Scottish Labour have claimed.
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Anas Sarwar’s party said that the issues around ventilation connected to the the £150 million Royal Hospital for Children and Young People (RHCYP) were due to the SNP’s mismanagement while in government.

It finally opened in March last year after a decade of delays despite being first due to open in winter 2012.

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NHS Lothian was forced to pay £1.4m every month for the empty and unused hospital between February 2019 and February 2021 due to the delays to it opening.

An error in a spreadsheet around the specifications of air flow in critical care rooms resulted in incorrect air flow in these rooms, an error spotted after the hospital was handed over to the health board.

This was described as a “collective failure” by auditors in 2020.

In addition, extra “enabling and equipment works” costing £80m and a further contract dispute of £11.6m cost NHS Lothian a total of £91.6 million.

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In total, the costs were estimated at £230m according to an audit of NHS Lothian.

Edinburgh's new Sick Kids hospital cost millions due to construction issues.Edinburgh's new Sick Kids hospital cost millions due to construction issues.
Edinburgh's new Sick Kids hospital cost millions due to construction issues.

At the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, at least £2.75 million was spent addressing issues with the water supply at its children’s hospital unit.

The QEUH has also been scandal-hit after lives were lost due to contaminated water.

The hospital campus opened in 2015, but has been repeatedly hit by concerns over safety and the spread of infections.

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Mr Sarwar called for senior management to resign afterr it emerged that patients at the hospital campus had died from types of infection that have been linked to pigeon droppings and contaminated water supplies.

An earlier review found the hospital's environment was at least partly to blame for the deaths of two children, including 10-year-old Milly Main.

In total, Labour said taxpayers were hit by a total bill of just over £146m due to the problems at both hospitals.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said: “The facts are clear – SNP mismanagement of the QEUH and Edinburgh Sick Kids Hospital has led to a whopping bill of £146 million – money which could have been used to improve patient care.

“This is the price that Scotland pays for SNP failure.

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“Both sites have been plagued with issues directly caused by SNP mismanagement, with the Edinburgh Sick Kids being delayed for years, and lives tragically being lost at the QEUH.

“The current NHS crisis may have been triggered by the pandemic, but years of SNP waste and mismanagement left our NHS ill-prepared to deal with increased pressure.

“Instead of being flagship new hospitals, both sites are now symbolic of SNP failures and mismanagement – with money wasted and lives put in danger as a result.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Patient safety is always our top priority and where remedial works are identified it is essential that all necessary actions are taken. In addition, the ongoing Scottish Hospital Inquiry will examine the construction of both hospitals so that lessons can be learned for future projects.

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“Reports that £146 million of additional costs have been incurred are misleading and inaccurate. The vast majority of this figure relates to planned costs which were not new, unexpected or avoidable.”

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