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Sick Children hospital plans approved in Edinburgh

Plans for a replacement city hospital for sick children have been approved by the Scottish Government, health secretary Alex Neil has announced.

NHS Lothian’s business case for a new site for the Royal Hospital for Sick Children and Department of Clinical Neurosciences has been accepted, and will now move from Sciennes to Little France.

The contract for construction will be put out to tender this autumn and the new hospital is expected to open in 2017.

Owners of the land, currently a car park, are to exchange it for another site. The move has been delayed for several years, something the opposition has been quick to criticise.

Neil said: “There have been delays with the new Sick Kids Hospital in the past, due to land and commercial issues with an inherited PFI contract on the proposed site.

“I am pleased to say there is now a framework in place to resolve the legal and commercial issues that arose in the original contract.”

Charles Winstanley, NHS Lothian chairman, said: “The benefits of having children's, maternity and adult services on the same site are well documented.

“The proximity to the University and the BioQuarter will also improve opportunities for partnership working and bring research to the bedside.”

Labour MSP Sarah Boyack said: “Parents across Scotland will be relieved to hear that progress is finally being made on delivering a new Sick Kids in Edinburgh.

“But no amount of spin can hide the fact that it will be delivered five years late and the current facilities were deemed not fit for purpose back in 2003.

“Staff, patients and parents will be disappointed at now having to cope for another four years with an unsuitable building, and it is only part of a crumbling NHS estate.”

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