Edward Mountain MSP welcomes progress at last for long-delayed Elective Care Centre

NHS Highland has confirmed that they are close to sending the Full Business Case for the Elective Care Centre to the Scottish Government for final approval.

NHS Highland stated: “We anticipate this report will be issued by the end of May 2020, and we would then anticipate final approval to be issued for the North of Scotland Elective Care Centre.”

It was also confirmed that NHS Highland had appointed contractors on 30 October 2017 but to date construction has yet to begin. The cost of the Elective Care Centre has risen from £36m and “will be delivered for a maximum cost of £41.3m.”

Once completed the elective care centre will offer knee, hip and cataract surgery as well as the full range of ophthalmology outpatient services.

This information was released following a Freedom of Information request from Edward Mountain MSP.

The Highlands and Islands MSP has welcomed the progress being made but has raised concerns about the two and a half year wait between appointing contractors and submitting a full business case.

Edward Mountain MSP commented: 

“I held constructive talks with NHS Highland in April and I am pleased that since then we are beginning to see a way forward for this long-delayed project.

However, I am dismayed that it has taken over two and a half years from appointing a contractor to submitting a final business case. The Elective Care Centre could have been built in that time.

I am also disappointed at the Scottish Government’s lack of transparency on the construction timeline for this project since it was announced in 2015. It has required persistent questioning before the Scottish Government will admit to delay after delay. This shows a real lack of commitment from the Scottish Government to patients in the Highlands. 

Building the Elective Care Centre must become a top priority for the new management of NHS Highland and the Scottish Government. Covid-19 has seen many elective operations cancelled to reduce the risk of the virus spreading and that was the right decision to take. However, if this Elective Care Centre had already been built the Highlands would now be in a better position to reduce waiting times for patients after the pandemic.”