Construction of the new Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary has resulted in 55 more jobs being created than initial estimates had suggested, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.
At the project’s outset, contractors Laing O’Rourke pledged to create 160 new jobs, training opportunities and apprenticeships on top of the 800-strong workforce already employed for the build. So far, the hospital’s construction has created 215 new jobs.
The new hospital received £200 million from the Scottish Government’s NPD (Non-profit Distributing) programme, a £3.5 billion initiative being used to fund projects in further education, health and transport.
The hospital will provide 344 single-bed en-suite rooms, and will also house a combined assessment unit to manage emergency cases and bed allocation, theatres complex, critical care unit, women’s and children’s unit and outpatients department.
During a visit to the Laing O’Rourke project yesterday, the First Minister met apprentices and graduates working on the site.
Ms Sturgeon said: “It’s fantastic to see 215 new jobs have been created for people from the region – 55 more than expected. Meeting apprentices and graduates today, I saw first-hand what the hospital’s construction means to them as they kick-start their careers.
“This is delivering a meaningful community benefit, as well as an injection into the local economy. With a full year’s work ahead of us until the hospital is complete, we fully intend to make the most of the opportunities this presents to the community, as well as to individuals seeking training or work opportunities.
“This new facility will deliver high-quality health services to patients from the Dumfries and Galloway region, and we are investing in the latest technologies to ensure efficient and effective diagnostics and treatment for every patient.”
Jeff Ace, chief executive, NHS Dumfries and Galloway, said: “We are delighted that High Wood Health and construction partner Laing O’Rourke continue to remain on schedule with construction of the new build, and to the highest standard. This is a very exciting time for all involved in the new hospital project as we move closer to seeing our vision for a fantastic new facility for our patients and staff become a reality.
“The new hospital project has delivered all anticipated community benefits in terms of new jobs, apprenticeships and training opportunities and we will continue to maximise these gains over the coming year.
“By the time the new hospital is handed over in September 2017 many local people will have made a significant contribution to the construction programme remaining on schedule, and will have gained valuable experience working on an exciting new build project.
“We would like to thank our partners in the project and also note the Board’s appreciation of the work of our Project Team, and of all the clinical and support staff who are working with them. I hope they will all take great pride in their contribution to creating this world class facility.”
The new hospital project has been at the centre of a conflict between Laing O’Rourke and construction union UCATT who insist the contractor has refused union officials access to the site.
It is expected to open in December this year.