SITTING in on the first board meeting at NHS Lothian since the opening of the new children's hospital was shelved, I was struck by the unanimous agreement in the room that investigations into what went wrong must not be a 'blame game'.

On the one hand, it might seem fair and reasonable to want to 'learn lessons' to avoid this sort of fiasco in future.

I'm sure the staff, patients and their families left in limbo would not want others to endure the same stress and disappointment.

But here's the thing.

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These sort of fiascos do keep happening on major projects. Remember the Edinburgh trams, the Scottish Parliament building, or more recently Dumfries' £28 million school, North West Community Campus, which had to close for nine months' worth of repairs less than a month after it opened?

It is not unique to Scotland, of course - think HS2 or the Millennium Dome - and it's certainly not unique to any particular political party being in power.

But regardless of who's in charge, it's taxpayers who end up footing the bill for someone else's incompetence.

So maybe pleas to 'learn lessons' are wearing thin, particularly as the lessons don't seem to be working.

I can't help but wonder if it is precisely this lack of blame, of anyone responsible ever truly being held to account and made to pay - literally or metaphorically - that is part of the problem.

It is all very well calling for the scalp of the Health Secretary du jour, but what exactly is the point - other than scoring pointless party political points?

Yes, the SNP has been the party of Government for the duration of the project but there have been four different Health Secretaries. How would Jeane Freeman resigning now actually help the situation?

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If voters believe the SNP have done a shoddy job of running the show, let the voters oust them.

But simply changing the shade of politicians in charge doesn't seem to do much to prevent these fiascos.

There also seems to be a double-standard for blame in the NHS. Just look at the Dr Bawa-Garba case in England where a junior doctor was left to carry the can when understaffing and IT problems contributed to a boy's death.

The current system for major projects is too opaque and too open to buck-passing.

Private consortia hire contractors, who delegate work to sub-contractors who sub-contract again and, if things go awry, there are so many legal loopholes that it's cheaper to make the taxpayer pay to fix them than to sue.

How is that right?

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And all the while we pay our NHS executives to oversee delivery and the non-executive directors to scrutinise them on our behalf.

Someone, or many, haven't done the jobs they should.

I think it's only fair to ask where blame lies.