NHS Lothian taking a leadership role in supporting local economy

NHS Lothian's ambitious plans include building four new hospitals and a number of health centres, while the health board is also an active partner in the £1bn plus BioQuarter development at Little France being driven by Scottish Enterprise.

Professor James Barbour, Chief Executive, NHS Lothian, said:

"NHS Lothian like all public bodies has an important role in supporting economic activity during this difficult time. Our investment plans are being given further impetus by current economic conditions and we are working with the Scottish Government to ensure we play our part in creating jobs and supporting families through our building programme.
"The BioQuarter development will see the creation of a world class cluster of biotechnology enterprises in very close proximity to both the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, the new Royal Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Edinburgh's Medical School.
"In addition, as the area's largest employer, we are playing a role in creating direct employment and are looking at expanding our apprenticeship programmes. We receive considerable public funding and we will ensure that we spend a fair share of it locally while getting value for money for our patients."

NHS Lothian plans to spend £888m by 2018/2019 on new hospitals, health premises and equipment.

Professor Sir John Savill, a non-executive director of NHS Lothian's board and Head of the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, said:

"These economic conditions could be seen as an opportunity for public sector bodies to show leadership and carry out ambitious programmes of this nature. That's certainly what our partnership at the BioQuarter development is setting out to achieve."

NHS Lothian's Healthcare Academy is a partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council and the Job Centre giving people a route into employment with the NHS. It delivers a six week programme of clinical learning and placements in the NHS to eligible unemployed people.

NHS Lothian is developing a new £850,000 apprenticeship scheme, providing training over seven years to provide 12 fully-trained workers.

NHS Lothian has already switched printing of its staff newspaper, Connections, to Midlothian-based printer Scottish County Press which is part of the continuing plans to use local businesses and source local products.

In addition NHS Lothian is well on it's way to implementing our plans to pay our business suppliers within ten days providing even more sustainability for local businesses.

NHS Lothian's new 10 year capital investment programme will bring a new hospital for children and young people, a new medicine for the elderly hospital, a new hospital for Midlothian, a new community treatment centre in East Lothian and a number of new and refurbished health centres across Lothian.

A recent board meeting was told that the new programme may benefit from current competitive conditions in the construction industry. Experts for the board have calculated that the ambitious building programme is viable even allowing for the effects of the global downturn in property sales.

The first children's hospital in Edinburgh opened in 1860 and the new Royal Hospital for Sick Children to be built at Little France will be the fifth Children's hospital built here.