More delays have been announced for Aberdeen’s new Baird and Anchor hospitals, which were due to start taking patients later this year.
The £245 million project will provide the city with a new maternity hospital and dedicated cancer care unit at Foresterhill.
Last year health bosses said the “game-changing” Anchor Centre was on course for a September 2023 opening, with the Baird Family Hospital following in March 2024.
But “several factors” are pushing these dates further back.
What’s caused the latest delay?
The Baird and Anchor hospitals were first announced in 2014 with a £120m budget and opening dates pencilled in for 2020.
Problems with the design, as well as the likes of Covid and Brexit led the timescale – and overall cost – to slip significantly.
The current market conditions and the need to update plans in line with new safety criteria are causing yet another hurdle.
NHS Grampian bosses say it could take several months to know the full scale of the delays, both in time and costs.
Further details may be available when its board next meets at the start of April.
Paul Allen, the health board’s director of infrastructure and sustainability, said: “The Baird Family Hospital and Anchor Centre are the biggest capital construction projects we have ever undertaken.
“Our project team’s focus is to ensure that these state-of-the-art buildings are able to support the highest standards of care from the point of opening.
“Regrettably, several factors including market conditions, updated assurance processes and client changes have impacted the construction of both facilities, to the point that their completion and opening will now be delayed.”
He added: “We will always welcome any changes that lead to a more robust process, a safer clinical environment of our buildings.
“Whilst the slippage of time is disappointing, it is without doubt the right thing to do.
“Our project team is working hard to quantify the potential time and costs attached to this, and this will take some months to complete.”
‘NHS Grampian is immensely proud of these projects’
Last year we were given an exclusive insight into the progress made at the Anchor Centre so far.
It’s expected to welcome around 65,000 cancer and blood disorder patients every year.
Local charities including Friends of Anchor have been supporting it through the design and fundraising stages.
Meanwhile, the Baird Family Hospital will replace the existing Aberdeen Maternity Hospital.
It’s been designed with “hotel-style” private rooms – complete with en-suite bathrooms – and extra support for partners and families.
Mr Allen added: “We would like to assure our staff, patients, partners and stakeholders that, despite a longer delivery timetable, NHS Grampian is immensely proud of these landmark projects and is committed to taking all the appropriate measures to ensure they are at the forefront of healthcare both nationally and internationally. ”