Health Secretary Shona Robison has insisted there will be no further delays to the creation of a major trauma centre in Aberdeen as she confirmed it would finally be up and running later this year.
Ministers had initially promised that the network between Scotland’s four biggest cities, which would cost an initial £30million and treat an estimated 6,000 patients a year, would be operational by the end of 2016.
But, despite pre-election pledges from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the target was not met.
The centres would deal with the most serious injuries, such as those sustained in car crashes.
North-east Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald has repeatedly pressed the Scottish Government for assurances over the timescale of the project, and raised the issue again in Holyrood yesterday.
Ms Robison said: “Funding of £10.2million of revenue in 2018-19 will allow the implementation of major trauma centres in Dundee and Aberdeen that meet the agreed minimum requirements, which will be operational during 2018.
“I am sure that Lewis Macdonald will be pleased that the Dundee and Aberdeen centres are proceeding as was outlined previously.”
A national implementation plan, agreed by the Scottish trauma network steering group last month, outlined proposals for the phased delivery of the entire trauma network over five years to 2022.
After the exchange in Holyrood, Mr Macdonald said: “As we are still waiting for the Aberdeen major trauma centre to become fully operational, it is vital that Shona Robison now does all she can to ensure that there are no further delays to the project – including ensuring adequate funding for major trauma facilities and addressing recruitment and retention problems in key specialities within NHS Grampian.
“The people of the north-east and north of Scotland have been waiting too long already for this important service.
“It is high time it was delivered and it is up to SNP ministers to ensure that NHS Grampian has all the financial and logistical support it needs to do that.”
The new centres in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow will host dedicated trauma services, including rehabilitation support, to help patients with significant injuries recover more quickly.
The Scottish Ambulance Service and existing trauma services across Scotland will also play a role in delivering enhanced trauma care.
These services will create the Scottish Trauma Network. The north-east centre will be based at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital.