Private partner sought to build replacement for RHSC and DCN

NHS Lothian’s plans to replace the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Department of Clinical Neurosciences and Child and Adolescent Mental Health facilities took a significant step forward today, Wednesday 5 December.

An advert inviting private sector partners to bid for the contract to design, build, maintain and finance the new facility has been published on the Public Contracts Scotland website​ and, in-line with European procurement legislation, in the Official Journal of the European Union.


The project is the first acute hospital facility to be procured under the Scottish Government’s Non Profit Distributing (NPD) model and the NHS Lothian team have been working closely with the Scottish Futures Trust to prepare for the procurement process.


Moving the services from the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, the Department of Clinical Neurosciences, currently based at the Western General Hospital and Child and Adolescent Mental Health services from the Royal Edinburgh Hospital to Little France will bring key services together in a high quality, modern facility.  It will reduce the need for emergency transfers across the city and improve opportunities to share expertise and experience.


Parties interested in bidding for the project are being invited to complete a pre-qualification questionnaire. From the questionnaire responses, three organisations will be selected to move onto the next phase of competitive dialogue, starting in Spring 2013.


The preferred bidder is expected to be announced early in 2014. They will then finalise the design for the new building, with work starting on site in the summer of that year. The hospital is expected to become operational in the summer of 2017.



Susan Goldsmith, Director of Finance, NHS Lothian, said: “This is a significant step in this important project. The benefits of having children’s, maternity and adult services on the same site are well documented and this combined facility will create a centre of excellence at Little France, bringing paediatric care, specialist neonatal care, neurosciences and emergency departments together. The proximity to the University facilities will also improve opportunities for partnership working and bring research to the bedside.
“We are looking for a private sector partner who understands our vision of providing a safe, comforting and healing environment for patients of all ages and who will work with us to develop and maintain this new facility.”


Health Secretary Alex Neil said: “I welcome the news that companies are now being invited to bid for the contract for this exciting project, and this means that work to get the new hospital up and running for 2017 can continue to move forward.
“This project is part of a £750 million health pipeline delivering a range of improvements to hospital and community health facilities right across Scotland.



“I have been clear in the past that investing in our infrastructure is vital to growing our economy and the NHS presents huge opportunities to do this. Not only will it bring benefits to business and more jobs but it also means that patients can be treated in the best possible surroundings.


"High quality health services as close to home as possible is what the people of Scotland want, and that is something this Government is determined to give them.”





Notes to Editors:



  • The NHS Lothian project team has worked closely with key stakeholders including staff, patients and their families and carers to develop a reference design for the new building.  This will be used by the preferred bidder to develop the final design. 
  • More information on the project can be found on the NHS Lothian website​.
  • The Scottish Government’s NPD model was developed and introduced as an alternative to the traditional private finance initiative. It has three core principles of enhanced stakeholder involvement in the management of projects, no dividend bearing equity and capped private sector returns. For more information visit Scottish Futures Trust at