NHS Greater Glasgow has received formal confirmation of £100 million from the Scottish Executive to build a brand new children's hospital on an adult acute hospital site.
In a letter to Professor Sir John Arbuthnott, Chairman of NHS Greater Glasgow, Health Minister Andy Kerr sets out the Ministerial intention that the new hospital should be on a site that also has adult and maternity services.
He said he recognised the clinical case for having paediatric services and a maternity unit on the same site and the importance of maintaining the national service provided by the Queen Mother's and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children.
However, he also recognised the Board's conclusions that maternity services should be on the same site as adult acute services and that Glasgow could only sustain two maternity units.
The letter also sets out the role of the advisory group set up by the Minister and chaired by Professor Andrew Calder, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Edinburgh.
Mr Kerr said: "I will task this group with responsibility to monitor plans for the co-location of paediatric, maternity and adult clinical services, to approve the option appraisal of possible sites and to ensure this is no diminution of the quality of care available to mothers and children up to the time the triple location service is operational."
He concluded his letter by praising the "hard work and responsible deliberation by members of the Greater Glasgow NHS Board", the "commitment of management and staff involved" and the "valuable contribution made by Professor Margaret Reid".
Mr Kerr's words of support were welcomed by NHS Greater Glasgow.
In a joint statement, NHS Greater Glasgow's medical directors for the three acute hospital divisions – Dr Brian Cowan (South Glasgow Division), Mr Morgan Jamieson (Yorkhill Division) and Dr Bill Anderson (North Glasgow Division) - pledged to work together.
They said: "We welcome the Ministerial announcement about new capital funding to deliver a children's hospital co-located with adult and maternity services. There was a strong clinical consensus during the consultation process that this service arrangement was best for women and babies. Without the extra resources which the Minister has now announced this gold standard was not an option for many years, so this announcement is very good news for child and maternal health services in Glasgow.
"The Ministerial Advisory Group is also welcome and continues the pattern of external clinical advice which has been at the heart of the process on reaching decisions on maternity services in Glasgow. Clinicians across the maternity and children's services will be at the centre of the implementation phase. Their involvement will be particularly important in the appraisal of the two potential sites for the co-location of the three services which the Minister has directed us to achieve.
"While making this very positive response to the Ministerial statement we must also highlight the fact that although there have been strongly held and differing views about some of the clinical issues during the consultation there was a clear consensus across the clinical community that Glasgow could not sustain three maternity hospitals beyond the short-term. That is also an important issue for discussion with the Advisory Group as we move forward.
"We are making this statement on behalf of medical staff across maternity and children's services. It is now time to move on from the clinical division which characterised the consultation process."
Greater Glasgow NHS Board Chairman, Sir John Arbuthnott said: "This massive new funding allocation will enable delivery of the triple co-location which Professor Margaret Reid's group and the Board had supported, in principle, but which was not deliverable within the resources available to us. The Minister's decision provides the opportunity to establish that gold standard solution in Glasgow.
"In my statement, following the announcement in Parliament and in discussions with Malcolm Chisholm, I have made the point that our submission included significant concerns about the sustainability of three maternity hospitals beyond the short-term. We will, therefore, work with the Advisory Committee to explore these issues and will also expect to make a case to the Scottish Executive in relation to the inevitable excess costs of sustaining three services.
"I am particularly pleased that the Minister has acknowledged the difficulty of this process and has recognised the hard work and responsible deliberations of the Board and its staff; our work was, indeed, taxing and emotive. The Minister also acknowledged the value of Professor Margaret Reid's contribution which I wholeheartedly endorse.
"It is the Minister's clear priority that we should now move to the implementation phase and plan the development of the new children's hospital alongside our existing plans for adult and maternity services.
"We must now work together to ensure delivery of these world-class services."
NOTES TO EDITORS
A full copy of the Health Minister's letter is available on