A meeting organised by Sarah Boyack MSP with the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Michael Matheson, to discuss the delayed Edinburgh Eye Pavilion has left patients and campaigners even more concerned about its future.

At the meeting it was confirmed that all previous work on designing and building the Edinburgh Eye Pavilion will be wasted as a new full business case will have to be written, costing many more millions of pounds.

According to Ms Boyack Mr Matheson did not provide clarity on the timescales expected for the new building, saying it may not even come in this funding cycle.

The Scottish Labour MSP said: “This flip flopping has been going on for too long. One minute the Scottish Government are committed to a new Eye Pavilion, next they are not.

“Michael Matheson’s failure to provide clarity today will leave patients worried, confused and angry.

“It did not have to be this way, if it had been built on time we would have saved many millions of pounds and patients would not be left in the dark.”

Also commenting Sylvia Paton, chair of KEEP said, “While Mr Matheson assured us that a new Eye Hospital would be built at some point, we are very disappointed about the lack of clarity over when”

“The prospect of further delays raise serious concerns about the Scottish Government’s future commitment to the project.”

When Ms Boyack asked the former First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, to confirm that the government would support the new Eye Pavilion, Ms Sturgeon said in February 2023 that the government did support the project but would not confirm it could be delivered by 2027.

Ms Boyack said in Parliament: “The First Minister will be aware of reports that the projected costs of the new Edinburgh eye pavilion have jumped by £10.5 million to £123 million. Given her Government’s shaky commitment to this vital project in the past, can she reassure patients across the Lothians and south-east Scotland that the new eye pavilion will be a priority for the Scottish Government, and that it will be delivered by 2027?”

Ms Sturgeon replied: “I gave that commitment during the most recent Scottish election campaign, I think, and I am happy to repeat it today. The commitment of this Government is not “shaky”; it is rock solid.

“The construction costs and the business case will obviously be interrogated, as is normal for all business cases. There is inflation in the costs of construction right now, which is impacting on the cost of many capital projects. However, we have a strong capital programme in the NHS and more generally, and we are committed to delivering it.”

Sarah Boyack MSP

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Founding Editor of The Edinburgh Reporter.
Edinburgh-born multimedia journalist and iPhoneographer.