The countdown to the opening of the state-of the-art £150m Edinburgh Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and Department of Clinical Neurosciences has begun.
In just six weeks time, from 9 July, the Children’s Emergency Department (ED) will transfer to the new hospital next to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France.
And the world-class facility will also open its doors to new patients on that date.
Jim Crombie, deputy chief executive of NHS Lothian, said a new chapter was beginning in the 150-year history of the Royal Hospital of Sick Children, which has provided care to millions of children.
He added: “This is such an exciting time to be part of NHS Lothian’s children and young people’s services.
“It is the beginning of a new chapter and we are now counting down the days before we can move into our new home.
“It has taken a huge amount of commitment, dedication and sheer hard work to get to this point and staff, patients and their families and friends have all contributed to imagining and creating this world-class hospital.”
Preparations for the move are already well underway and staff are immersed in the challenge of migrating services, which will take place over 10 days in July.
Between 5 July and 15 July, a total of 62 children’s services, the Department of Clinical Neurosciences, as well as the day service and inpatient unit of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services will move into the new building.
It has taken a huge amount of commitment, dedication and sheer hard work to get to this point and staff, patients and their families and friends have all contributed to imagining and creating this world-class hospital
The new ED, which opens on 9 July, will also begin seeing children and young people aged up to 16, when previously it provided care for children aged up to 13 only.
Inpatients will be transferred safely into the new hospital with the help of the Scottish Ambulance Service and partner organisations.
And planned appointments are being arranged to take place in the hospital from 15 July.
Crombie said: “It is a huge project and a major operation is underway to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible.
“Many of us – staff, patients and families alike – have a real affection for the old Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Sciennes, so I don’t doubt there will be the odd tear shed when it closes its doors for the last time.
“However, we are confident that this magnificent new building and its wonderful staff will be just as important and cherished in the lives of families in the years to come.”
Tracy Rendall is a member of the NHS Lothian RHSC family council and her family has been involved in the project from the very-earliest stage.
She said: “The Sick Kids in Sciennes, Edinburgh, has been an important backdrop for my family for over 15 years and I’m proud to say I was involved in the design process of some of the children’s areas in the new hospital.
“A lot of thought went into these, in particular the quiet spaces where people can have time away from clinical settings.
“I know that any family who needs to come here will feel reassured and will receive the best care in a really-special environment designed around their needs.
One of her sons, Beau, aged 15, is no stranger to spending time in the hospital.
Our priority throughout development has been to create a new world-class building that can offer the highest standards of patient care – and we have been working in partnership with NHS Lothian to achieve this
He was born with spina bifida, a condition that is when a baby’s spine and spinal cord do not develop properly in the womb, causing a gap in the spine.
Now aged 15, he will move into adult services in the next few years, but before he does, he will get to reap the benefits of the new hospital when he comes in for his next surgery in August.
He said: “I'm looking forward to trying out the new bedside entertainment. Everyone will have a tablet they can use to find out more information about the hospital, like what each uniform colour means, and what time dinner will be served. There will be games and programmes to watch when in bed, too."
Wallace Weir, spokesperson for Integrated Health Solutions Lothian (IHSL), which was commissioned to design, build and finance the development, added: “This has been an ambitious and complex construction project.
“Our priority throughout development has been to create a new world-class building that can offer the highest standards of patient care – and we have been working in partnership with NHS Lothian to achieve this.
“The new building will deliver significantly-improved facilities for staff, patients and their families – and we are looking forward to the start of this exciting new chapter for the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People.”
The IHSL consortium comprises Brookfield Multiplex Construction Europe(construction), HLM (architects), Macquarie Capital Group (finance) and Bouygues E&S FM UK (FM provider).