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Health / NHS chair hopeful of new hospital despite government capital spend concern

Photo: Shetland News

THE CHAIRMAN of the local health board believes it is still a case of “when, not if” the isles get a new hospital – despite NHS building projects in Scotland being put on hold due to budget pressures.

Gary Robinson was responding after reports that at least a dozen new NHS construction projects across Scotland have been delayed or paused for up to two years.

The two-year delay on new projects first came to light last month.

The Scottish Government has said a revised NHS infrastructure plan would be unveiled in the spring.

NHS Shetland is currently exploring options for a replacement Gilbert Bain Hospital, and no final decisions have yet been made. If a new build was approved, its construction would still be some years away.

Robinson said “in my view, it’s still a matter of when, not if, a new hospital will be built in Shetland”.

“We will have to wait patiently for the promised springtime review to find out how much of a delay we can expect,” he added.

Robinson also said the need for a replacement hospital is “identified and accepted”.

Dr Iain Kennedy, chair of BMA Scotland, said on BBC radio that “we have been saying for some time that the NHS in Scotland does not have the resources to be sustainable in the future”.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said the UK government “did not inflation-proof its capital budget which has resulted in nearly a 10 per cent real-terms cut in the Scottish government’s capital funding over the medium-term between 2023-24 and 2027-28”.

They added that emphasis for the immediate future will be on addressing backlog maintenance and essential equipment replacement.

Meanwhile the delivery of parts for the building which will house a new MRI scanner at the Gilbert Bain Hospital remains delayed after ferry cancellations in recent weeks.

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