A delay for Aberdeen’s major trauma centre has been announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
A new major trauma network across Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh was initially promised to be operational by the end of last year.
The timeline had been reinforced by Ms Sturgeon in a visit to Aberdeen ahead of May’s Holyrood elections, where she moved to quell fears Aberdeen could miss out on a major trauma centre.
Now the First Minister has admitted it will be 2020 before the centre opens.
She said: “Given the scale and complexity of the changes required to deliver the network, we should need to recognise it will take at least three years to fully implement it.
“We are allocating an extra £5 million in 2017-18 to begin to accelerate these improvements, and we will be putting further, significant investment in as we continue to build and fully establish the network over the next few years.
“It is estimated this approach could save up to 40 more lives a year, and it is a model of care which is very much in line with the aims and ambitions of our delivery plan for health and social care – published at the end of 2016.”
North-east MSP Lewis Macdonald, Labour, condemned the delay.
He said: “This is hugely disappointing for everyone who relies on the NHS in Scotland, and particularly for people in Aberdeen and the North East.
“Nicola Sturgeon intervened personally to promise that Aberdeen would have a major trauma centre when she came to the city at the very end of last year’s Holyrood election campaign.
“This will have a damaging impact on the morale of doctors and nursing staff at Foresterhill, many of whom have already worked hard to ensure plans for Aberdeen’s major trauma centre went ahead.
“Nicola Sturgeon and Health Secretary Shona Robison have some serious questions to answer about their handling of this issue from start to finish.”