Brexit uncertainty has been partially blamed for the cost of Aberdeen’s new maternity hospital and cancer centre rocketing by around £50 million, the Evening Express can reveal.
The new Baird Family Hospital and Anchor Centre are due to be open by 2021, with construction expected to start this year.
However, tenders have come back from construction firms, with NHS Grampian board members briefed that it is “well over” the initial cost of £163.7m – taking the expected total to more than £200m.
The health board has admitted challenges within the construction sector and wider uncertainty regarding Brexit, plus the economic position, are reflected in the spiralling cost and an independent review has now been launched.
NHS Grampian is analysing the tenders which have come in for the main construction works.
A spokesman for the health board said: “The tendered costs that have been returned are higher than estimated at the outline business case stage, reflecting the challenges within the construction sector and the wider uncertainty regarding Brexit and the economic position.
“We have commissioned an independent review of the project costs and are also using the opportunity to review the design of the facilities in light of the learning from the projects in Glasgow and Lothian.
“NHS Grampian is fully committed to the project and continues to have the full support of the Scottish Government.”
The Scottish Government has provided £163.7 million of capital funding for the projects.
Initial works on the family hospital – which will include maternity, neo-natal, breast and gynaecology services – and cancer centre were completed in early July as planned.
However, it was revealed in July that the project was running at least three months behind while the analysis of tenders was under way.
It was reported this week that Edinburgh’s new Sick Kids Hospital, initially expected to open in 2017, will not open for at least another year.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said the new facility will cost the taxpayer an extra £16m – taking the final cost to more than 10% of the current £150m bill.
Liam Kerr, Scottish Conservative MSP for North East Scotland, said: “The Baird Family Hospital and Anchor Unit will be a fantastic and much-needed new facility for the north-east. However, questions must be asked about why costs are spiralling in this way.
“Time and time again we are seeing major infrastructure projects under this SNP Government running over budget and behind schedule.
“This is not a one-off situation, as we have seen with hospitals in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and it cannot be blamed on Brexit.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We remain fully committed to supporting the delivery of this project and we will continue to work with NHS Grampian following the completion of their independent cost review.”