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Belford Hospital construction date ‘unrealistic’

When will it be rebuilt? Belford Hospital "on track" for 2023 rebuild.
When will it be rebuilt? Belford Hospital "on track" for 2023 rebuild.

NHS Highland staff claim they are being kept in the dark about a proposed rebuild of the hospital in Fort William.

They claim it is leading to low staff morale as they “put up with a building on its knees”.

NHS Highland says a rebuild of the 54-year-old Belford Hospital in Fort William is on track for a 2023 opening, but the deputy leader of the council is sceptical this date will be met.

A staff member, who did not want to be named, said: “We just want to know when the move is happening.

“At the moment, staff morale is low due to a lack of investment in the current building, we are up against it in the modern world of nursing.”


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Another worker, who also wished to be unnamed, said: “We are having to put up with a building on its knees.

“It wasn’t the best building in 1965 – some repairs have been made more than 30 or 40 times. The new build can’t some soon enough, but when will that be?.”

The Scottish Government confirmed that to date it has not been asked for any funding for the project.

A spokesman said: “We are aware of NHS highland’s broad plans for a new hospital in Fort William.

“We look forward to this being given consideration when its business case has been formally submitted by the health board to the NHS capital investment group.”

In October 2015 Highland Council bought land at Blar Mhor for £2million for the hospital.

Allan Henderson, vice convener of Highland Council said: “It is hard to get enthusiastic about any date that NHS Highland put out, as each time the forecast date seems to disappear into the mists of time.

“While the Highland Council have gone above and beyond the call of duty to  NHS and Fort William by securing a suitable site for NHS, there is little evidence of movement on their part.

“NHS procurement process is very opaque  and difficult to lobby, or influence.”

A spokesman for NHS Highland said: “The March 2023 date reflects the wider Lochaber health and social care redesign project and is the basis for the Lochaber Outline Business Case (OBC) process.

“The steering group and all involved appreciate this could be sooner or later relative to the progress through the various stages of the Scottish Government’s capital programme.”

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