EDINBURGH’S new Sick Kids hospital will not open for at least another year, the Health Secretary has said.

Jeane Freeman also revealed the new facility will cost the taxpayer an extra £16 million – taking the final cost to more than 10 per cent over the current £150m bill.

In a Holyrood statement, she said problems with ventilation, water systems and drainage will “take time” to address.

She said: “It is clear that there is significant work to be undertaken to ensure the site is fully compliant.”

Ms Freeman said the hospital will stay at its current site until autumn next year.

On top of the additional £16 million costs, NHS Lothian will continue to pay £1.35 million a month to the site owners at Little France, which will total a further £16 million by the time the hospital opens.

This is despite the new hospital currently lying empty.

The new Royal Hospital for Children and Young People was due to open in early July, but Ms Freeman cancelled this at short notice after it was found the ventilation system in the critical care unit did not meet national standards.

A replacement Sick Kids was originally supposed to open at the end of 2012, but has been repeatedly delayed.

Ms Freeman's latest decision follows the findings of two reports commissioned in July to ensure patient safety across the site.

An independent review by KPMG found the main issue with ventilation in critical care stemmed from an error in a document produced by NHS Lothian at the tender stage in 2012. 

The report attributes this to human error and confusion over interpretation of standards and guidance. It also concludes that opportunities to spot and rectify that error were missed.

Meanwhile, a detailed assessment by NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) identified a range of issues which need to be resolved prior to occupation of the building, including ventilation and water systems. 

Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said: “This confirms that patients and their families will have had to wait nearly a decade longer than promised for this much-needed hospital.

“On top of that, the taxpayer will have to fork out more than £30 million between now and next autumn to compensate for these catastrophic failings.

“Staff and families alike will also be sceptical about whether this hospital will be open by next autumn.

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“They’ve been promised – year after year – that new timescales will be adhered to, and they’ve been repeatedly let down.

“All over the world new hospitals are built and delivered on time and on budget.

“Yet under the SNP, from the very outset, this project has been a farce.

“As a result, thousands of young and vulnerable patients from across Scotland will suffer.

“In a cynical move SNP ministers think a 30-minute statement and sneaking out two major reports on the hospital is acceptable when it comes to answering questions.

“It is not and they should hang their heads in shame if they think this is how they prevent parliament holding them to account.

“The scandal surrounding the construction of the new Sick Kids hospital has come to symbolise this SNP government’s incompetence and mismanagement of our NHS.”

Ms Freeman said she was grateful to the dedication and professionalism of staff "in what have been very difficult and disappointing circumstances".

She said: “I also want to thank the patients and families affected for their patience. The safest possible care of their children is my overriding priority and I am sorry for any impact the current situation has had on them.

“I am of course bitterly disappointed that a mistake made in 2012 was not picked up earlier.

"This is a publicly funded project of strategic importance, which has not been delivered by NHS Lothian in compliance with the standards and guidance.

"The delay we now face will be borne by NHS Lothian staff, by patients and their families and the additional cost will be to the public purse.

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“My overriding priority is that the children and families who depend on these hospital services can receive them in the safest way possible.

"The current situation is not one anyone would chose – but it is one I am determined to resolve.”

She said she expects the Department of Clinical Neurosciences (DCN) to move in spring 2020, with the rest of the children’s hospital migrating to the new site in autumn.