The Health Secretary has cast doubt over plans to build a new eye hospital in Edinburgh, saying the Government will not fund it.
The current premises on Chalmers Street was opened in 1969 and back in 2015 was classed as unfit for purpose. NHS Lothian worked up plans for a new unit, the Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion. The initial agreement for this new hospital was signed off by NHS Scotland in February 2018, and a construction company was given the contract for it in July 2018.
Edinburgh Northern and Leith Liberal Democrat candidate Rebecca Bell is angry about this, and said: "This is not good enough. The Health Secretary claims funding was never actually agreed, even if that was technically the case, this is certainly bad management and Edinburgh residents rightly feel let down. We desperately need a new eye hospital, to suggest patients in an emergency with vision problems could travel all the way to Livingston is just bonkers. I have spoken to a few optometrists who referred to this as a "disaster".
"This feels like another broken promise, it's been 5 years since Chalmers Street was declared unfit for purpose and now the Government has pulled the rug out from under this project, I'm calling for the Health Secretary to think again - her current proposals are not good enough. We have three important projects of development for NHS Lothian, the Cancer Centre at the Western General has already been pushed back to 2030, but given the Government's previous record I have little confidence we will see it built then. Secondly the elective care centre in Livingston is already underway and they just expect this one to be dropped, for our capital city. It's outrageous."