Ads directing patients to new Sick Kids hospital still running

15 August 2019, 05:27 | Updated: 15 August 2019, 05:34

Generic image of hospital doctor

Adverts directing parents to the new Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh show "lax and irresponsible" management of the crisis, the Scottish Lib Dems have said.

The opening of the Sick Kids has been delayed indefinitely but Lothian Buses adverts still show the original July date.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman overruled NHS Lothian and cancelled the opening after inspections found safety concerns over its ventilation system days before it was due to open.

A full safety review of the site was commissioned to assess the water, ventilation and drainage systems.

Tom Waterson, chairman of Unison Scotland's health committee, warned the new building may have to be "ripped down" before it even opens its doors to patients.

Scottish Liberal Democrats health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said: "It's extremely concerning that more than a month after the Sick Kids move was cancelled, buses are still driving around Edinburgh with big adverts advising parents of the exact opposite.

"The whole point of this awareness campaign was to ensure parents didn't take an ill child to the wrong place.

"It's lax and irresponsible to not have taken down these adverts."

He added: "NHS Lothian says that anyone who does attend the deserted hospital will be transferred and treated accordingly but time can be critical and this would be more easily avoided if these adverts had been taken down weeks ago.

"We don't know when the hospital will finally open, we don't fully know the extent of what's wrong with it and there are conflicting claims about the hospital's future.

"The Health Secretary must urgently get a grip of the situation and ensure that the public is getting accurate and transparent reports on the hospital's operation."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "As NHS Lothian have made clear, they took immediate steps to remove bus advertising for the new site as soon as the delay became known - and they contacted all patients with appointments to inform them of the situation.

"We are working closely with NHS Lothian to migrate services to the new site as soon as it is safe to do so.

"The Health Secretary has already commissioned a full review of the problems identified at the Sick Kids site and has given her personal assurance that staff and patients will be the first to know as soon as information is available on the next steps for the phased move.

"In addition, Ms Freeman has kept Parliament informed during recess, has written directly to all local MSPs and MPs and expects to report on this when Parliament returns to session next month."