Wed 11 Sep, 2019

Those who have supported private finance used to argue that the risk would be transferred to the private sector. This case reveals that argument to be totally bogus, just as the Scottish Greens have maintained for 20 years Alison Johnstone

The Scottish Government must support the staff and patients of the Edinburgh children’s hospital while they are stuck in the old facilities, Scottish Green MSP Alison Johnstone has said.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman today told the Scottish Parliament the new hospital will not be ready for another year, at huge cost to the public purse.

Responding, the Scottish Green parliamentary co-leader said: “This is a huge delay, and the people who will be most disappointed will be the staff and patients who are currently crammed into to old site at Sciennes. It is right the minister apologised to them.

“Of course, it is absolutely correct that patient safety must come first, but while this supposedly state-of-the-art facility is brought up to standards it should have met in the first place, staff and patients are stuck in an environment which they had already began to move out of. We are now told it will be next Autumn before they can transfer over.

“The cost of the new hospital is eye-watering, but that doesn’t mean financial support isn’t needed to make sure those who remain at the old site aren’t comfortable and safe too.

"That means investment in good staffing levels, equipment and the kind of support children and their families need to put the patient at the centre of care.

“Someone signed off this new hospital when it was clearly not safe or in a fit state for use by our children. That raises the question for who is responsible and liable for this mess.

“Those who have supported private finance used to argue that the risk would be transferred to the private sector. This case reveals that argument to be totally bogus, just as the Scottish Greens have maintained for 20 years. With the SNP’s NPD model, just like PFI before it, it is the public that picks up the cost when things go wrong – this time at £1.35m a month.

“It’s time for the SNP to ditch the private finance schemes that saddle our public services with debt."

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