There is evidence of light at the end of the tunnel for the long-delayed opening of the new Edinburgh Royal Hospital for Children and Young People as part of the development was handed over to NHS Lothian.
The Department of Clinical Neurosciences has been officially launched after teams transferred from the Western General Hospital into purpose-built new facilities on the Little France campus last week.
The unit is the first instalment of a three-part, £150m investment which will eventually see a new children’s hospital and child and adolescent mental health service also opening on the site next to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.
The children’s hospital was due to open last year, but the launch was delayed due to fears that parts of the building may have to be ripped down amid concerns over ventilation and drainage problems.
And earlier this month, Scottish Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman, admitted she still did not have a firm date when the hospital would be ready to open.
But many are seeing last week’s handover as an indication that remedial work may be nearing completion.
Speaking about the new Department of Clinical Neurosciences, which was designed by HLM Architects; Dr Tracey Gillies, medical director at NHS Lothian, said: “We have the most-fantastic facility for our staff and patients.
“It has been designed and built with only them in mind and will allow them to keep pace with changing science and technology and provide all of the services and care for our patients.”Dr Ruth Brotherstone, lead physiologist, added: “This has definitely been well worth waiting for. It’s not just for us as staff, but also for the care that we are able to provide our patients now, and in the years to come. It is a really-exciting move.”
The health board said the opening of the children’s hospital would happen ‘as soon as enhancement work is complete’.
But Freeman admitted this work may be delayed due to the complexity of the problems and the impact of COVID-19.