A NHS planning director has said there were “many areas of compromise that felt uncomfortable” in a project to build an Edinburgh hospital.

Iain Graham, NHS Lothian capital planning and projects director, told the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry of “frosty relations” and “frustrations” between the health board and the consortium working on the hospital, Integrated Health Solutions Lothian (IHSL).

The inquiry is examining problems that led to the delay in the opening of the new Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh.

The opening was delayed at the 11th hour after the Scottish Government became aware of safety issues due to the ventilation system, having suffered previous delays, and did not fully open until March 2021.

In his written statement, Mr Graham said: “I think across the whole project delivery, there were many areas of compromise that felt uncomfortable as both public sector and private sector wanted to get delivery of the hospital project progressing.

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“Nothing, as far as we could tell at that time, was missed, just elements of the private sector deliverables were pushed into the later stages.

“Commercially that was more advantageous to the private sector, but the design risks lay with IHSL.”

Referring to the first meeting of a special programme steering board in August 2014, he said in the statement he considered the issues discussed to be “very serious because we were not making progress” and that relationships within IHSL seemed “tense and inconsistent”.

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Mr Graham said pressure was put on IHSL, but he could not recall “whether there were any specific measures in terms of cutting time out on any workstream”.

He said he believes there would have been pressure from IHSL to cut time from design development or other areas.

Mr Graham’s statement said: “Our paranoia and lack of trust, as they saw it, meant it was difficult for us to maintain a position of us needing everything by Financial Close.”

He said at the following meeting “relations were frosty and there were many frustrations”.

He added: “Applying pressure on IHSL was partially successful in addressing concerns in terms of getting to financial closure.”

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The latest phase of the inquiry is examining how the specification of the ventilation system was developed, the level of detail contained in that specification and how NHS Lothian communicated technical requirements for the ventilation system to prospective tenderers.

The inquiry was ordered after patients at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow died from infections linked to pigeon droppings and the water supply, and the opening of the Edinburgh site was delayed due to safety concerns

The latest set of hearings in the inquiry, chaired by Lord Brodie, are expected to continue to May 9.