By Kristy Dorsey

Work is set begin on a new maternity hospital and cancer centre in Aberdeen following the signing of a £161 million contract by NHS Grampian and Graham Construction.

Site preparation on the project, located next to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, will begin in November with main construction due to get underway in January. It covers construction of the new 5,500sq metre Anchor cancer centre and the 26,000sq metre Baird Family Hospital.

The scheme is the largest procured to date through the Health Facilities Scotland Framework. The final signing of the contract was delayed following a review into costings on the project, whose total estimated price has risen from nearly £164m to more than £233m.

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Privately-owned Graham, which is headquartered in Northern Ireland and operates from 23 regional offices throughout the UK and Ireland, welcomed the sign-off as “the culmination of a long but hugely fulfilling” journey.

“These are pioneering facilities that will enhance healthcare provision in the north-east of Scotland for decades to come,” said Gary Holmes, Graham's regional managing direcgtor for Scotland. “It’s a landmark contract for us and moves our business on to the next level of delivery.

“The project team has shown outstanding dedication and commitment to get to this point. We now look forward to working with NHS Grampian and their stakeholders through the construction phase.”

Approximately half of the increase in cost stems from construction tenders coming in higher than initially anticipated, with a further £15m arising from major design improvements. The remainder came from additional cost planning and delays related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The Baird Family Hospital will be on the site of the former Foresterhill Health Centre and will bring together all maternity, neonatal, reproductive medicine, breast and gynaecology services, along with a patient hotel, teaching and research facilities. It is scheduled to open in December 2023.

The Anchor Centre will attach to the existing Radiotherapy Centre and will bring all haematology, oncology and radiotherapy day and outpatient services under one roof. It is scheduled to open in May 2023.

The Foresterhill Health Campus is Europe’s biggest healthcare site. The contract with Graham Construction was signed following approval at the end of September from the Scottish Government.