Aberdeen’s major trauma centre is to open next month, it has been revealed.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs the unit will open in October as she laid out her programme for government for the coming year yesterday.
The state-of-the-art facility will be part of a major trauma network that includes Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh and will provide specialist emergency care.
Ms Sturgeon said in parliament: “I can also confirm that, as part of our work to create a specialist major trauma network, new major trauma centres will open in Aberdeen next month and in Dundee in November.”
This will mean the facility – which could save up to 40 lives a year – would be the first in the network to open.
North-east Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald welcomed news of an opening date.
He said: “It’s great that two years on we have a date for when that will go forward.
“It’s particularly pleasing that Aberdeen will be the first in the country followed quickly by Dundee.
“Foresterhill already has most of the services on the site and so, as we argued around two years ago, this decision shows Aberdeen is best placed to carry that forward.”
In 2016 concerns were raised Aberdeen would miss out to the central belt after former Health Secretary Shona Robison appeared to backtrack on her government’s commitment to deliver the centre.
Dozens of top doctors at NHS Grampian voiced concern about basing the units in just Edinburgh and Glasgow, suggesting lives could be put at risk, and more than 3,500 residents also signed a petition demanding the need for the facility.
But Ms Sturgeon intervened, pledging the trauma centre would be built in the city.
She also unveiled plans to invest an additional £7 billion in schools, hospitals, transport, digital connectivity and clean energy by 2026.
She said a new welfare payment aimed at helping low-income families in Scotland will be introduced ahead of schedule.
The Best Start Grant, which replaces the Sure Start Maternity Grant north of the border, is one of 11 benefits being devolved to Holyrood.
Ms Sturgeon said the first payments will begin before Christmas, six months earlier than originally planned.