As a critical decision deadline approaches, a coalition of cross-party Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) representing Edinburgh has joined forces to implore Health Secretary Michael Matheson. Their collective plea urges the establishment of a clear timetable for the construction of a new Edinburgh Eye Hospital, coupled with a commitment to inclusive consultations involving patients, sight loss charities, and elected representatives for the most favorable outcome.
The Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion, a fixture in Edinburgh for half a century, was deemed unfit for purpose in 2014. Though the Scottish Government initially greenlit a new eye hospital in 2018, the project faced an unexpected cancellation. However, reassurances during the 2021 Holyrood election campaign promised a revival. Presently, a Scottish Government review of capital spending has cast uncertainty over the project’s future.
With a crucial week remaining until the Scottish Budget, the Edinburgh MSPs emphasize the critical need for funding for a new eye hospital in the capital. The impending Scottish Budget is expected to unveil the results of the spending review, potentially deciding the fate of the long-awaited medical facility.
The jointly endorsed letter by Edinburgh MSPs from diverse political affiliations, including Labour, Tories, SNP, Lib Dem, and Alba, follows a recent meeting at the Scottish Parliament. In this meeting, MSPs engaged with representatives from sight loss charities, including Sight Scotland, Visibility Scotland, and RNIB. Personal testimonies from patients and staff revealed the deplorable conditions at the current Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion.
A consensus emerged among politicians that the existing facilities were inadequate and continuing to rely on them would adversely affect patients and staff. The joint letter to Health Secretary Michael Matheson aims to underscore the widespread concern among residents across Edinburgh regarding the pressing need for a new eye hospital.
In the letter, the MSPs express, “Nearly a decade has passed since the Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion was declared unfit for purpose. During this period, patients have had to receive care in a building that the Scottish Government acknowledges falls short of the standards expected of our world-class NHS.”
Acknowledging the financial challenges faced by the public sector and the impact of inflation on rising costs, the MSPs emphasize the urgency of the situation. They assert that further delays will only escalate the frustration, anger, and desperation experienced by patients and constituents.
A Labour MSP for Lothian remarked, “I am pleased that MSPs across Edinburgh could unite to advocate for such a crucial project. None of our constituents should have to depend on facilities labeled unfit for purpose for over a decade.”
The MSP highlighted the project’s priority status for Edinburgh residents and called on Michael Matheson to heed the collective call for swift action. Edinburgh MSPs pledge to maintain a collaborative effort to secure the best outcome for their constituents and the city.
As the countdown to the Scottish Budget ticks away, the fate of the Edinburgh Eye Hospital hangs in the balance, with the hopes and well-being of residents contingent on a swift and decisive commitment to action.