Survey to assess ‘life span’ of hospital

A condition survey of NHS-owned buildings including the Gilbert Bain Hospital will take place in the autumn.

The survey will be carried out by external contractors for Health Facilities Scotland, a meeting of the board of NHS Shetland heard this week.

NHS Shetland chief executive Ralph Roberts said it will give a “sense of the life span” of NHS property, particularly the Gilbert Bain Hospital.

The survey will enable the board to make a decision about the future of the hospital, which could be 10, 20 or even 50 years, he said, and then if necessary to target the board’s capital programme.

Mr Roberts said the hospital is a “complex building” which looks good inside but beneath the surface are engineering systems of pipe work and steam work which no-one sees. The condition of these systems will not be known until they are uncovered in the survey.

Interim head of estates Lawson Bisset said there was a backlog of maintenance to be done in the hospital, and the survey would show how long the building could last, depending on the amount of money available.

Mr Roberts said: “We are making sure the engineering is as good as the decor. We will get that level of information from the survey.” A new hospital could therefore be anything up to 50 years away.

Meanwhile the board is to sell its old headquarters Brevik House, which is surplus to requirements since the board moved to Montfield.


Add Your Comment
  • John Tulloch

    • June 25th, 2014 12:19

    If the hospital’s going to be there another fifty years, why not ask the surveyors to consider the possibility of constructing a new helipad AT the hospital, custom-built to deliver casualties straight from the aircraft to A&E via lift, corridor/conveyor, etc.

    I recall over twenty years ago being told by a safety expert that an industrial fatality cost the country about £1million. I should imagine, assuming that figure was realistic, that it might be several times that now.

    If helicopters full of people can land safely on oil rigs at sea, I shouldn’t think landing at the hospital would cause the pilots undue difficulty?

    • Johan Adamson

      • June 25th, 2014 14:50

      Or maybe at the Brevik, which they are selling?

      • John Tulloch

        • June 25th, 2014 21:28

        Yes, provided, there’s a direct route to A&E that wouldn’t necessitate transfer into an ambulance to cross the road.

        I quite like the idea of a roof over an existing car park area, strong enough to take the weight. Then you have the benefit of shelter and safe access for elderly or infirm outpatients, as well as for casualties, and you’re straight into the building.

        Not having to use ambulances would be a big advantage in the event of a multiple-casualty incident or, heaven forbid, a disaster.

        Of course, I don’t pretend to know what’s technically feasible, which is why I think it should be considered if experts are coming in to survey the building and site.

        A covered car park needn’t look that bad, given there’s not a great deal to spoil, aesthetically, with the hospital already there?

  • David Spence

    • June 25th, 2014 19:20

    Just like they have parking fee’s at Hospital’s John, there could be an issue at to whether or not the parking fee for the helicopter justify’s having a helipad within the Hospital grounds or nearby. Either situation, one must take into account, especially if it is a greedy private contractor that owns the parking rights or a dodgy clamper company (would love to see them trying to clamp a helicopter lol (ok, it may be easy due to the smaller wheels it has lol)) who clamps anything that is stationary……….such figures must be taken into consideration when assessing the viability of such a project lol

  • john ridland

    • June 25th, 2014 21:56

    External contractors = consultants….. HOW MUCH……..?

  • john ridland

    • June 26th, 2014 8:19

    ” External contractors” = Consultants….. How much…?

  • Rachel Buchan

    • June 27th, 2014 1:09

    Never seen a clamper company up here, David. I think you’re taking the “greedy” scenario a bit too far there!

  • fraser cluness

    • June 27th, 2014 20:16

    meantime why dont the just paint a landing spot up at the carpark at the knab. then when they actualy build a new hoapitail make it part of the plans, id like to see the new hospitail on the current site of the power station, its on the main road and tons of space. they could always have a landing area on the roof if its built from scratch

  • David Spence

    • June 27th, 2014 23:17

    I was being sarcastic Rachel…………but as they say ‘ Don’t speak too soon ‘………there may be a secret clamper around the corner (of the car) waiting to pounce on you LOL


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.