OPPOSITION politicians have questioned a decision to appoint a company to manage the shut-down of Scotland’s emergency Covid-19 hospital at a cost of more than £400,000 at a time when cases of the virus have reached a record high.

American multi-national engineering firm Aecom, which has a Glasgow base, has been awarded the contract to decommission the £43 million NHS Louisa Jordan, which was set up at the Scottish Events Campus  but has not been required so far.

The Scottish Government said the firm was appointed to manage the closure of the facility “when the time is right” and said the lease of the facility has been extended until April to provide capacity for Covid cases if required as well as outpatient appointments 

The Scottish Conservatives said it was “astonishing” that the contract had already been awarded while Labour questioned the £429,877 cost of the project.

READ MORE: NHS Louisa Jordan cost £30million to set up despite not treating any patients 

The contract was advertised as for a “Lead Advisor consultant to support the decommissioning of the NHS Louisa Jordan temporary field hospital at the Scottish Events Campus (SEC)”.

Documents show it was awarded on September 22 and two bids were received.

The First Minister said yesterday that Scotland had recorded the highest number of daily cases since the pandemic began, with 558 new positive cases, including 89 patients being treated in hospital.

NHS Louisa Jordan was set up in less than two weeks in April but has not been needed for Covid-19 cases during the outbreak.

Since then it has been made available for outpatient services and the Government said about 3,000 patients have been seen in orthopaedics, plastic surgery and dermatology.

Services have been expanded to include X-rays and CT scans, with 62 scheduled each day, five days a week by the end of October. 

READ MORE: NHS Louisa Jordan provides vital training to 700 healthcare students

Donald Cameron, shadow health secretary, said: “It is astonishing this contract has been awarded already.

“The public will be keen to know why this decision has been taken now, and what the future is for the NHS Louisa Jordan."

Labour health spokeswoman Monica Lennon added:“Spending almost £500,000 on advice to dismantle our Covid-19 hospital, just as we enter a second wave of the virus, could be seen as wrongheaded.

“The NHS Louisa Jordan has cost almost £70m and while people are relieved it wasn’t needed to treat Covid-19 patients, it remains to be seen if its role has been optimal.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “NHS Louisa Jordan is currently committed to supporting NHS remobilisation, patient care, and education

“We have extended the lease at the SEC until the end of April 2021 to ensure we can cope with any increase in cases and continue to deliver non-Covid healthcare. 

“This forward planning means that as we manage the virus’ spread, we can decommission the Louisa Jordan when we feel the time is right. If the hospital is required beyond April 2021 then we would seek to agree a further extension.”