Page last updated at 16:12 GMT, Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Super hospital delay 'the new Holyrood'

New South Glasgow Hospital Campus
The new hospital's opening date has slipped by at least six months

Delivery of a new "super hospital" in Glasgow could be two years late and way over budget, it has been claimed.

The New South Glasgow Hospital Campus was supposed to be completed by July 2014 at a total cost of £842m.

But ministers have said the hospital may take six months longer with other work running into the summer of 2016.

The Conservatives said the delay could force the budget to slip and see the hospital become "Glasgow's very own Holyrood building project".

Slippage in the timetable for delivering the hospital emerged in a parliamentary answer to Scottish Conservative West of Scotland MSP, Jackson Carlaw.

With delays already coming to the fore and additional work being required surely it's only a matter of time before the budget slips too?
Jackson Carlaw MSP
Scottish Conservatives

In her written response, Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said that when the project was announced last year its estimated cost was £841.7m with an anticipated completion date of July 2014.

She said: "The cost of the scheme is still within £841.7m. The date forecast for the completion of the main hospitals within the preferred bidders tender is January 2015.

"An additional stage has been developed since the completion of the outline business case.

"This stage involves the demolition of the old surgical block and associated buildings and completion of soft landscaping areas to complete the central park area and will finish in the summer of 2016."

'Money pit'

Mr Carlaw said the government must "learn the lessons of Holyrood" to avoid any repeat of spiralling costs with the hospital project.

"The history of publicly financed building projects is not a happy one, with the Holyrood money pit being perhaps the most infamous example," he said.

"The building of a new Southern General was only announced last year, but already we find that the timeline has slipped significantly.

"We are told that the project is still within budget, but with delays already coming to the fore and additional work being required, surely it's only a matter of time before the budget slips too? And guess who picks up the tab for that?"

Some constructors will remain on-site afterwards to complete landscaping and demolition work but this will in no way delay or impact upon the treatment of patients
Scottish government spokeswoman

Mr Carlaw said the whole project could end up "becoming Glasgow's very own Holyrood building project" in the "health secretary's back yard".

Liberal Democrat MSP for Glasgow, Robert Brown, described the health secretary's parliamentary answer as "quite atrocious" and said "there must be no further delays".

"The Scottish government's explanations for this long delay are entirely unconvincing," he said.

"The Southern General Hospital project has been at the stocks for years and it is badly needed. It is quite intolerable that we will have more years of old hospital buildings no longer fit for purpose."

A spokeswoman for the Scottish government said the amended timescale for completion of the hospital would not impact on patient care.

She said: "The date forecast for the completion of the main hospitals at the Southern General site is January 2015 - within six months of the provisional completion date announced when the outline business case was approved."

"Some constructors will remain on-site afterwards to complete landscaping and demolition work but this will in no way delay or impact upon the treatment of patients."



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