New Edinburgh Sick Kids Hospital: ‘The private funding move has added to costs and delays’

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In his written evidence to the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry, Peter Reekie said the move to the not-for-profit distribution (NDP) model offered a way for the project to continue at a time when there was no sufficient capital funding available and that he could not speculate when or if capital funding became available.

But he said the decision to include the Department of Clinical Neurosciences (DCN), transferred from Western General Hospital, under the same project and the change in procurement route, which included the preparation of a reference design , took time. “The switch to the NPD therefore led to a later completion date than that which was scheduled for the [Sick Kids] project as an investment project at the time of the change. »

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He said the inclusion of DCN meant increased costs. “Additionally, there were consultancy costs associated with NPD procurement which, in my experience, are generally higher than consultancy costs under capital procurement. There was a cost additional project funding due to the NPD funding stream and the NPD includes costs for the entire lifecycle of the building, including facilities management service.”

But he said it was not possible to say whether there had been an increase in the cost of construction given that the scope of the project had changed.

The Sick Kids opened in March 2021, 20 months after its scheduled July 2019 opening was canceled at the last minute because intensive care ventilation did not meet the required standard.

The opening of the new Sick Kids Hospital in July 2019 was canceled at the last minute because the intensive care ventilation did not meet the requirements. Photo: Scott Louden.

Appearing at the inquest, Mr Reekie was asked about a ‘need don’t want’ review of the design brief carried out for SFT in 2011 by independent consultants Atkins and whether it would include issues such as ventilation. “It wouldn’t be,” he said. The review focused on spatial design and cost, not the details of structural, mechanical, or electrical design elements. Her concern was “whether the size of the buildings was about right to provide the clinical services – the specialties involved, the throughput of patients, the amount of treatment and all ancillary services” and she looked at the cost per meter for the building compared to other hospitals.

The investigation showed an email from David Stillie of engineering firm Mott MacDonald in which he reported a comment by Peter Henderson of Health Facilities Scotland about a meeting in January 2012 that “everyone present appreciated that the project was reviewed ‘to death'”.

Mr Reekie said: “I could understand why the project team might have felt like they had been subjected to a number of reviews, but all of the reviews had particular purposes which were ultimately designed to help meet project requirements and provide value for money and a feasible project.

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