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Tender error caused three-year delay to Edinburgh children’s hospital

An error in a tender document produced by NHS Lothian in 2012 led to the £230m Edinburgh children’s hospital being delayed until spring 2020, it has emerged.

The Royal Hospital for Children and Young People was originally due to open in 2017. However, a mistake at the tender stage led to non-compliance with health standards on ventilation, which has postponed the project’s completion, a KPMG report commissioned by the Scottish Government has revealed.

The report also identified at least three subsequent opportunities,  between November 2016 and February 2019, where both the NHS and Integrated Health Solutions Lothian (IHSL) and a joint venture comprising Multiplex, Bouygues and HCP Management Services, could have identified the error.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, SNP cabinet secretary for health Jeane Freeman said that the KPMG report “sets out a clear picture of human error and confusion over interpretation of standards and guidance, as well as missed opportunities to spot and rectify that error”.

She said that work to rectify the ventilation issues and “other remedial issues” at the site is estimated to add £16m to costs.

Conservative MSP Miles Briggs said: “Reading between the lines of [Ms Freeman’s] statement, it looks as though the cabinet secretary intends to hang NHS management out to dry for the problem. What responsibility will SNP ministers take for the findings of the reports?”

Labour MSP Monica Lennon called for a full public inquiry into the hospital build, a suggestion rebuffed by Ms Freeman.

NHS Lothian chief executive Tim Davison said in a statement: “I know this is a difficult time for staff and patients and I apologise for the extended delay. I would like to thank our teams for all of their hard work and dedication throughout.

“We accept the findings of the KPMG report in full. We have also produced a detailed response to the action plan following the NHS National Services Scotland report and work is already well underway to implement it.

“We will continue to work constructively with the Scottish Government to progress towards opening as soon as possible.”

Multiplex has been approached for comment.

In August it was revealed that NHS Lothian had paid an extra £11.6m to ISHL in a settlement agreement for work on the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People.

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