NHS Highland bosses have pledged to invest in the north’s flagship hospital in the short term – as a masterplan reveals that a new £450million facility may need to be built.
Inverness’s rapidly rising population and the poor standard of some of the existing buildings at Raigmore Hospital have prompted a review of healthcare facilities in the Inner Moray Firth area.
One of the options under consideration is a brand new hospital on a greenfield site, while new GP surgeries in the south of the city are also expected to be built.
At a meeting of the health board yesterday, NHS Highland chairman Garry Coutts said a new hospital was just one of a number of options under consideration – but pledged to invest in the existing building to keep services running as normal.
He said: “Obviously there has been a lot of attention about the idea of a new hospital. When you put an idea like that out there it is always going to set a lot of hares running.”
He added: “We are absolutely committed to Raigmore and we will continue to make sure that we spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on the fabric of Raigmore to make sure that it is fit for purpose.”
The report discussed by the health board revealed that the least expensive option of refurbishment will cost at least £280million, rising to £450,000 for a new hospital.
A new-build would take 10 years to complete, while refurbishment work would involve construction on the Raigmore campus for the next decade.
NHS Highland head of estates Eric Green told the board that his team had been working on the masterplan for two years, trying to identify solutions to a “challenging problem”.
He added: “It is clear significant investment is needed in Raigmore’s building fabric if it is to continue to deliver health care for the next 20 years.
“The plan identifies five main options to carry forward, ranging from a brand new build on a greenfield site to maximum refurbishment of the existing with significant new build.
Board member Dr Michael Foxley said he hoped the masterplan would become a “vision for the future” but added that he hoped it would be tied in with plans for other parts of the Highlands and Grampian.