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Final cost of new DGRI will be £533m

Section:  Dumfries and West

A £533 MILLION total cost has been placed on the construction and maintenance of Dumfries’ new hospital over 25 years.

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The total cost is revealed amid concerns over financial strains being created by controversial private finance contracts — but is well below the £700 million originally envisaged when the go-ahead was given for a new Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary.
An NHS Dumfries and Galloway spokesman said: “The overall cost for the new hospital will be £533 million.
“This includes construction of the building and annual payments and maintenance over a 25 year period.”
He added: “The cost of construction of the building itself remains on budget at £212 million.”
Nationally, NHS boards face paying back £10 billion to firms for new hospitals that cost £2 billion to build under private finance deals.
And boards face repayments of £285 million in the existing calendar year alone.
The new DGRI at Garroch Loaning is being built through a non-profit distribution model with banks lending to a consortium of builders — with the Scottish Government paying 93 per cent of annual payback charges and NHS Dumfries and Galloway the rest.
But critical of the Scottish Government’s approach, head of policy at Unison Scotland Dave Watson said: “Whatever they’re paying, they’re going to be paying more to banks than if they borrowed it themselves.
“The simple fact is that the Scottish Government can borrow for virtually nothing at the moment.”
Mr Watson says through a private finance approach the Scottish Government keeps the borrowing off its balance sheets but ultimately ends up paying more taxpayer money.
In 2011, NHS Dumfries and Galloway chief executive Jeff Ace said the construction and maintenance for DGRI over 30 years would come to a unit cost of between £600 million and £700 million.
While noting costs may be less due to low interest rates, Dave Watson said: “My question would be what is it that’s not in the new hospital that was in the original planning when those numbers were put together.”

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