Five-year delay for RVH critical care building

The revelation that a £150m critical care building in Belfast remains largely closed to the public five years after it was due to open has been met with shock and outrage by politicians.

The state-of-the-art facility at the Royal Victoria Hospital was due to open its doors in 2012.

But the BBC has reported that 10 of the 12 floors of the high-rise building are still awaiting patients and staff.

Despite the huge investment in the facility, it is understood that millions of pounds are needed to make the building fit for purpose.

The facility was hailed as a “beacon” for the local construction industry, but it has been plagued with delays.

According to the BBC, a raft of construction problems have held up completion of the building, including plumbing, waste and electrical systems.

East Antrim MLA Roy Beggs said the Belfast Health Trust, which has responsibility for the building, has “serious questions to answer”.

The UUP health spokesman told the News Letter: “Shortly after the Ulster Unionist Party took the health portfolio in 2007, our minister Michael McGimpsey signed off on funding for the new critical care unit to be located at the Royal.

“We recognised Northern Ireland needed such a new facility in order to provide the best care possible for patients, especially those in real emergencies.

“It is a total and absolute disgrace therefore that 10 years later most of the building remains empty.”

Mr Beggs said the public deserved an explanation for the ongoing delay.

And he described it as “inexcusable” that some of the equipment bought for the unit has passed its usable lifespan and now must be disposed of, despite never being used.

It is understood this includes oxygen hoses used in theatres as they have a limited shelf life.

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