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Edinburgh's empty Sick Kids' hospital costs taxpayers £6m to run in just four months

Daily Record logoDaily Record 11/02/2020 Peter Davidson
a building with a store on the side of a road: The new Sick Kids' hospital in Edinburgh is still not open © Daily Record The new Sick Kids' hospital in Edinburgh is still not open

The sky-high running costs of the new Sick Kids “ghost hospital” were branded a “disgrace” as taxpayers continue to pick up the hefty tab.

Figures obtained by the Daily Record show the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh cost £6million in just over four months.

The spiralling day-to-day costs include staffing, electricity, gas, water, waste management, training, equipment and annual service payments.

Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said: “We already know the failure to open the Sick Kids on time has totally failed young patients and their families.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Scottish Conservative Health spokesperson Miles Briggs said the taxpayer is taking a huge hit © Getty Images Scottish Conservative Health spokesperson Miles Briggs said the taxpayer is taking a huge hit

“But now it appears the taxpayer is taking a huge hit too.

“The SNP must take full responsibility for this fiasco. SNP ministers have proven to be totally useless and increasingly part of the problem.

“It’s a complete disgrace that a hospital that was meant to open in 2012 continues to be a ghost building.”

Last September the Scottish Government said the opening of the hospital would be delayed until autumn this year which means it will continue to rack up huge bills while remaining empty.

The opening has been delayed by a number of issues with the cost spiralling from an initial £150m construction cost and £80m for enabling, to a lifetime cost of more than £520m.

Patients, staff and services at the NHS Lothian facility were expected to transfer to the new hospital last July however plans were halted after final checks revealed the critical care department’s ventilation system did not meet national standards.

From September 11 when Health Secretary Jeane Freeman announced another delay until January 15, an incredible  £5,915,776 has been spent on running the empty hospital.

In just 127 days a total of £46,580 was spent a day on running the hospital.

A barrage of criticism has been fired at NHS Lothian health board and the Scottish Government over their handling of the fiasco.

Monica Lennon, Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman, said: “Taxpayers should not be having to pay for a ‘ghost hospital’ that can’t treat patients because it is unsafe.

“The costs keep adding up, with the final bill and move-in date still only estimates.

a person standing in front of a refrigerator: The hospital in Little France, Edinburgh is still not open © Daily Record The hospital in Little France, Edinburgh is still not open

“No one is taking responsibility and Scottish Labour called for a public inquiry because the truth must come out. NHS staff and patients deserve much better.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “NHS Lothian have now identified a qualified and appropriate contractor to undertake the remedial works necessary to resolve the identified issues.

“We are continuing our work to deliver the new hospital in the timelines set out, and look forward to it opening as soon as is safely possible.

“While the new building remains closed, many staff are still working in the current RHSC or on other sites. This has been done with in partnership with staff and will be kept under review.”

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