2012 opening of Belfast critical care building delayed again
A new critical care building at a Belfast hospital - due to open in 2012 - will not now fully open for at least another seven months, it has been claimed.
The new state of the art £150million building at the Royal Victoria Hospital remains mainly closed to the public six years after it was due to open.
Problems such as draining and ventilation mean parts of the building are off limits to patients and staff.
Speaking on the BBC Stephen Nolan show on Friday, Ray Rafferty, Unison representative at the Royal Victoria described the situation as "absolutely amazing".
He said: "I think the chronic problem here is that the services that should be delivered to the people of Northern Ireland to the patients and the condition that the staff are working under are absolutely appalling."
Mr Rafferty stressed staff are working in older buildings in cramped conditions with greater values of patients in very stressful situations.
He added: "This building was designed to elevate this and bring us into the 21st Century.
"We have been told time and time again the building will open in June, August then September, the question is which year. I question if it will be this September."
On @StephenNolan now -— The Nolan Show, BBC (@BBCNolan) February 23, 2018
A Nolan Show exclusive - we can reveal that six years after it was due to open, the new critical care building at the Royal Victoria hospital will still not be up and running for at least another seven months
Listen live - https://t.co/28MQgKtyzT pic.twitter.com/LbXMOodO8D
The Belfast Health and Social Care Trust acknowledged building had taken a long time to complete.
In a statement, it said: "Having taken possession of the critical care building in 2015 the trust is working through a list of remedial work to address changes in standards and guidance since the building was designed, defects that were discovered following handover, and improvements to assist in the maintenance in the building.
"The draining system of the upper floors has been strengthened to ensure that the system can be maintained with limited impact on the clinical area.
"We are also bringing the ventilation system to the required standard in accordance with guidance before the theatres are put into use."
The Belfast Trust said as preparation for opening the new floors, they have trained approximately "500 nursing medical and support staff".
It added: "This is an essential requirement before any building can open, and includes mandatory staff training such as fire training.
"These staff are currently employed within theatres and ICU delivering direct patient care. The project is still within its approval levels of £150 million."
Belfast Telegraph Digital