THE new Royal Hospital for Children in Edinburgh has been hit by another delay and will not be open until spring 2018 at the earliest.

The £150m facility at Little France on the outskirts of the city has been dogged by delays and NHS Lothian is unable to pin down a new opening date.

Read more: Grenfell Tower-style insulation to be removed from Scots superhospital a month after first discovered

The health authority blames the complexity of the build, which involves moving 62 departments, for the latest setback that pushes stretches the target at least a further two months.

HeraldScotland:

Originally, the much-needed replacement hospital was supposed to be open by the winter of 2012, but the project has been dogged by delays since then.

Campaigners have expressed anger that, during the six years of delay, a similar facility in Glasgow has been completed.

The health authority said it was putting back the opening date to ensure the “safe and effective” opening of the hospital, which will serve youngsters right across the east of Scotland.

Read more: Grenfell Tower-style insulation to be removed from Scots superhospital a month after first discovered

Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said: "Families, parents and patients across the Lothians and eastern Scotland will be deeply disappointed and frustrated at this.

HeraldScotland:

“This appears to be yet another delay to the opening of a vital new hospital facility, despite NHS Lothian guaranteeing that it would open next spring.

“Families deserve answers and clarification from both NHS Lothian and the Scottish Government about the reasons behind this delay and I will be seeking these on behalf of constituents.

He added: "The SNP government’s handling of this whole project - which it claims is one of its flagship infrastructure investments - has been incredibly poor from the outset, having originally indicated a new hospital could be ready by the end of 2012.

“Since then we have seen delay after delay and this is unacceptable.”

Read more: Grenfell Tower-style insulation to be removed from Scots superhospital a month after first discovered

A spokeswoman for NHS Lothian said that the delay was not due to fire safety checks following the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London.

She said: "We are revising our internal staff moving dates to ensure that all services move in a safe and effective manner.

“We anticipate the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People, Department for Clinical Neurosciences and Child and Adolescents Mental Health Services will open to patients in spring 2018, however until we have the revised migration timetable agreed these dates can not be confirmed.

HeraldScotland:

“This is a huge project and it’s vital that the building is fully operational before it opens to ensure we provide the best possible care to all our patients.

“Staff are being kept up to date with any developments on moving dates.”

Read more: Grenfell Tower-style insulation to be removed from Scots superhospital a month after first discovered

The Dunne Group, responsible for construction of the concrete frame, ground works and associated support services such as tower cranes, recently entered administration.

NHS Lothian said at the time of that previous delay that work was hit by "unfavourable winter weather and unavoidable technical construction problems."

The building, next to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, is due for handover this Autumn.

Construction work started on the building in February 2015.

The six storey building will have a large atrium, a skylight linking both hospital entrances, a helipad on the roof and a link building joining to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and paediatric emergency departments.

It will also bring with it an increase in single rooms with ensuite facilities.

It replaces the former Sciennes building, which is being targeted for a community buyout.

Marchmont and Sciennes Development Trust wants to turn the 122-year-old site into a hub for affordable housing, businesses and a community hall.