The Story So Far

Our vision is to create a centre of excellence founded in Lothian’s finest traditions of healthcare and medical research. It will allow us to deliver the highest standards of care and pioneer new treatments. It will provide a safe, comforting and healing environment which promotes recovery and meets the needs of patients and their carers.

Why move?

While providing excellent care, the current premises for Royal Hospital for Sick Children and Department of Clinical Neurosciences are restricted by their age and design, and give limited room for improvement or expansion.

Our patients have the right to expect the highest standards of hospital accommodation however our historic buildings cannot be adapted to meet all of these expectations.  For example:

  • Royal Hospital for Sick Children requires more space to care for patients up to 16 years of age, or 18 in some cases, in age appropriate accommodation.
  • HS Scotland is committed to the principle that adult patients admitted to hospital should be in single rooms with en-suite facilities. Fewer than 30 per cent of the Department of Clinical Neurosciences beds are in single rooms at present and none of them have en-suite facilities.

The site

The new facility will be built at Little France, home to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh Medical School and adjacent to the Edinburgh BioQuarter development.

The building will occupy what is currently car park B, with this and additional parking for Royal Hospital for Sick Children and Department of Clinical Neurosciences users being provided elsewhere on the site.

Delivering these services alongside the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh will help us to deliver NHS Lothian and the Scottish Government’s ambitions for:

  • Maternity, neonatal and paediatric specialties on the same site
  • Paediatric and adult neurosurgery on the same site
  • Mental health services for children and young people on the same site as their acute services
  • Improved emergency access to hospital via a new rooftop helipad

A brief history

Work to consider replacing the current Royal Hospital for Sick Children started in 2006, and an Outline Business Case (OBC) to move the hospital to Little France was approved by the Scottish Government in summer 2008.

The Department of Clinical Neurosciences project commenced at the beginning of 2008, and in approving the Royal Hospital for Sick Children OBC, the Scottish Government acknowledged that the Department of Clinical Neurosciences should also move to Little France and that options to co-locate should be considered.

In April 2009 NHS Lothian appointed BAM Construction as their principle partner to deliver the Royal Hospital for Sick Children project.  This project was to be capital-funded, and the design developed for the Royal Hospital for Sick Children was to explore the option of including the Department of Clinical Neurosciences.

NHS Lothian approved an OBC for the move of the Department of Clinical Neurosciences to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh site as part of the same build as the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in November 2009.  The Scottish Government acknowledged that this was the preferred option for the Department of Clinical Neurosciences project, but requested that NHS Lothian re-assess the possible funding and procurement routes.  The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh design was therefore progressed without the Department of Clinical Neurosciences from this point.

In November 2010 the Scottish Government draft budget set out proposals to take forward a number of capital infrastructure projects across Scotland, including the Royal Hospital for Sick Children and Department of Clinical Neurosciences projects, using the revenue-funded Non Profit Distribution model.  The change in funding for the Royal Hospital for Sick Children and the new procurement route marked the end of the relationship with BAM Construction.

This change also gave NHS Lothian the opportunity to pursue the original preferred option of a combined build for the Royal Hospital for Sick Children and Department of Clinical Neurosciences once again. A full OBC for the combined building at Little France was developed and was approved by Scottish Government on 19 September 2012.

It was announced as part of the Scottish Government’s budget for 2011/12 that the re-provision of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children and Department of Clinical Neurosciences would be funded using the Non Profit Distributing (NPD) Model, with support from the Scottish Futures Trust.

Since then the project team has been working closely with the Scottish Government and Scottish Futures Trust and the​ Outline Business Case was approved by the Scottish Government in September 2012.

In March 2014, after a thorough evaluation process Integrated Health Solutions Lothian consisting of Brookfield Multiplex Construction Europe Limited (construction), HLM (architects), Macquarie Capital Group Limited (finance) and Bouygues E&S FM UK Limited (Facilities Management provider) were chosen as the preferred bidder to design, build and maintain the new Royal Hospital for Sick Children and Department of Clinical Neurosciences.

In the summer of 2014, NHS Lothian working alongside, Integrated Health Solutions Lothian, will submit a planning application and full business case to the City of Edinburgh Council and Scottish Government respectively.

Construction work is then scheduled to start on the new building in autumn 2014, with the hospital opening in the summer of 2017.

Last Reviewed: 25/04/2014