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‘Small price to pay’: Director says latest north-east hospital delay will be worth the wait

Artist impressions of The ANCHOR Centre and The Baird Family Hospital.
Artist impressions of The ANCHOR Centre and The Baird Family Hospital.

The project manager behind two north-east hospitals facing three-month construction delays has highlighted the further wait will be a “small price to pay” for 50 years of high-quality facilities.

The NHS Grampian board met yesterday morning to discuss a further hold-up to The Baird Family Hospital and Anchor Centre opening.

The facility was originally earmarked for completion in 2020.

However, rising costs, Covid, the war in Ukraine and Brexit have forced the completion date back another three months.

But despite numerous pressures on the project, construction managers stressed no sacrifices have been made on the quality of the buildings.

Artist impressions of The Anchor Centre and The Baird Family Hospital.

Delay will be worth it

NHS Grampian’s board members were advised the new Anchor Centre will now not welcome the patients until August 2023.

Meanwhile, the Baird Family Hospital is scheduled to become operational in March 2024.

Jackie Bremner, who is heading up the project for NHS Grampian, said: “Twelve weeks over the life of a building is small.

“And if 12 weeks means that we end up getting the best possible buildings for the people of Grampian or the north, then that 12 weeks will be a small price to pay.

Project Director Jackie Bremner at the construction site of The Baird Family Hospital in May 2021.

“Especially, if we end up with beautiful facilities of high quality.

“And that 12 weeks, for me, I believe is worth it.”

While it might be disappointing news to hear, for both staff and patients, Jackie went on to explain that these buildings will go on to exist for 50 years.

She also emphasised that the environment of care is “key” to the delivery of “excellent patient experience”, which is why they will not compromise when delivering the project.

War, Covid and Brexit impacting project

Previous reports on construction delays cited the impact of rising prices as a consequence of both Brexit and Covid.

Jackie said: “Some prices have gone up double, triple and even quadruple.

“Of course, we were just beginning to think with our construction partners the outlook for the next six months was beginning to settle a little.

“Enter stage left, the war in Ukraine, the Russian sanctions, Belarusian sanctions.

“And here we are, back into an unclear future.”

“If you’ve seen The Baird Family Hospital, in particular, it’s a concrete-framed building. And a sizable one,” she added.

“Concrete was in very short supply, and our construction partners had to work very hard to try and keep the supply of concrete coming in a way that help us stay on programme.”

Discussions with Scottish Government

Jackie said: “We have also started discussions with the Scottish Government because we will need to find a way through it together and I’m sure we will.

“The challenge is to keep your head up, keep smiling, and we will work through every single one of them.”

Construction site during May 2021.

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