In May we had a members’ meeting at our Edinburgh Office about the plans for the new Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh. The hospital is moving from its current home by the Meadows to join the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on the Little France Campus. Our meeting was attended by one of the project board and we were given lots of information and a chance to ask questions.
The hospital is being built with a mix of public and private money which, unlike PFI, will work like a mortgage; the NHS will own the hospital when they payments finish in 25 years’ time. If the final planning permission is granted then construction of the new hospital will start in October 2014. It is expected to open in the summer of 2017. Unfortunately, this means that there will still be charges for car parking. There are still 28 years on the parking contract. However, it is a defined benefit contract which means that no more money should be raised from the charges overall despite the fact there will be more spaces on site.
The final design is almost complete and ties to make lots of use of courtyards because lots of people have said that they will miss being able to escape over to the Meadows. The old petrol station on the edge of the site has been purchased to improve the landscaping too. You can see what it will look like by watching the “Fly Through” on the NHS Lothian website.
All the rooms that can be will be single occupancy and all are big enough for an adult. There is a new, 33 bedroom, family hotel which more than replaces PJ’s Loft. There will also be classrooms for the first time which will help children to keep learning if they are in hospital for a long time. It will be much easier to find your way around that the current building too and there will be very clear signs.
The Ward which would be used by people with bleeding disorders has flat access to the family hotel and is by an accessible terrace.
Parents who attended our meeting asked the following questions.
Question 1: Will there be low hand washing sinks for children?
Answer 1: The cost of doing this throughout the hospital has proved prohibitive and in discussion with other new hospitals they have also not done this for the same reasons.
Question 2: Will there be toilet seats which work for both children and adults, as well as smaller toilets?
Answer 2: The toilets will have the option of different seats to address this issue.
Question 3: Will there be coat hooks in the ward and rooms to avoid having to put things on the floor or beds?
Answer 3: There are coat hooks scheduled in both of these areas.
Question 4: Will there be enough toilets for parents?
Answer 4: There are a “phenomenal” amount of toilets so this shouldn’t be a problem.
Question 5: Will there be places parents can get food and drink at all times of the day and night?
Answer 5: There will be a restaurant but this won’t be open all the time. There are several sites earmarked for “Grab and Go” Sandwich concessions. However, these will need to be commercially viable so it isn’t clear yet how many there will end up being. Apart from that there will be vending machines.
If you have your own questions please let Dan know in the office and he will pass them on for an answer. If you would like to really get involved in the design and build then there are two groups you might like to join.
Family Council at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children
Contact Denise Claxton at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, 9 Sciennes Road, Edinburgh, EH9 1LF.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0131 536 0068.
Young People’s Advisory Group (YPAG) at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children
Contact Helen Taylor at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, 9 Sciennes Road, Edinburgh, EH9 1LF.