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Calls for inquiry into £1.4m a month empty Edinburgh children’s hospital

Labour MSP Monica Lennon (Andrew Cawley, DC Thomson)
Labour MSP Monica Lennon (Andrew Cawley, DC Thomson)

Opposition parties have called for an inquiry after it emerged a health board is paying developers more than £1 million a month for a new hospital that is unable to open for safety reasons.

NHS Lothian is paying £1.4 million a month to the private consortium Integrated Health Solutions Lothian (IHSL) for the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh.

The new hospital was expected to open last month but Health Secretary Jeane Freeman stepped in to overrule the health board’s plans after failed safety checks.

It is not known when the site will be safe to use and the NHS is reviewing its water, ventilation and drainage systems.

NHS Lothian has been paying around £1.4m a month in an annual service payment to IHSL since February, when the hospital was officially handed over to the health board.

The total contracted cost for IHSL to design, build, finance and maintain the hospital over 25 years is £432m.

Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman Monica Lennon called for a public inquiry into the project.

She questioned whether the health secretary had known about these charges when blocking its opening, adding: “A public inquiry is needed.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “An independent inquiry into how this entire build has been managed, including how it has been overseen by SNP ministers, is now necessary.”