Further checks required to ensure patient safety at Edinburgh Sick Kids hospital

A detailed assessment of compliance of all building systems is to be undertaken at the new Royal Hospital for Children and Young People (RHCYP) to guarantee the safety of patients and staff, the Scottish Government said today.

The new building in Little France was due to open earlier this month but was delayed by health secretary Jeane Freeman after it was found that the ventilation system within the critical care department in the new hospital requires further work to meet national standards.

The phased programme of measures by NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) will prioritise the assessment of water, ventilation and drainage systems, including the proposed fix for the ventilation unit. This will determine the timeframe for services moving to the new hospital and a full report is anticipated in September.

NSS will also review current and recently completed major NHS capital projects and provide assurances that the same standards have been complied with.

To establish the factors that led to the delay, KPMG began an independent review of the governance arrangements for RHCYP on Monday.

In addition, the health secretary has escalated NHS Lothian to Level 3 of the NHS Board Performance Escalation Framework. A package of tailored support will be made available to the health board to drive forward improvements. 

Ms Freeman said: “I understand that this is a disappointing and worrying time for parents and carers of patients who have appointments at the new children’s hospital.

“However, safe, effective and high-quality clinical services continue to be delivered from the existing site in Sciennes.

“The work carried out by NSS will give quality assurance on the water, ventilation and drainage systems and establish a timeframe for services to move safely to the new hospital.

“Infection prevention must always be embedded within the design, planning, construction and commissioning activities of all new and refurbished healthcare facilities, which is why I have also instructed NSS to review current and recently completed major NHS capital projects and provide assurances that the same standards have been adhered to.

“KPMG are also now on site independently reviewing the governance arrangements for the new children’s hospital to establish the factors that led to the delay.

“I recognise and appreciate that NHS Lothian staff have made considerable efforts both in the lead up to the planned move and following the delay. I have written to staff today to thank them for their hard work and for all that they are doing to help manage the situation, and for their excellent track record of providing high-quality patient care.”

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