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No place like a new home for DCN staff


The Department of Clinical Neurosciences in NHS Lothian has opened after teams transferred into their purpose-built new home. The new location provides capacity to treat more patients, working with new and improved technology including cutting edge scanning equipment.

Staff within the Department of Clinical Neurosciences (DCN) in Edinburgh said a fond farewell to the Western General Hospital as they began the phased move into the dedicated new building on Edinburgh BioQuarter.

They have already welcomed in their first patients and been able to show off the facility which will help them stay at the forefront of neuroscience patient care.

Dr Tracey Gillies, Medical Director, NHS Lothian, said: ” We have the most fantastic facility for our staff and patients. It has been designed and built with only them in mind.

“I’m positive that they will not be disappointed. This will allow them to keep pace with changing science and technology and provide all of the services and care for our patients.”

The move will undoubtedly be a bitter sweet transition for some staff who had a sentimental attachment to the former building on the Western General Hospital site, which was built in the 1960s.

Its unique theatre design attracted worldwide attention and throughout the following decades, the unit has continued to play an important role in advancing neuroscience.

Neuroscience is a group of specialist disciplines – neurology (medical) and neurosurgery (surgical). The expert teams are made up of a range of specialists, neurologists and neurosurgeons and treat people with disorders of the nervous system, such as problems affecting the brain and spinal cord and the nerves and muscles in the rest of the body, such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, or brain injuries.

Dr Ruth Brotherstone, Lead Physiologist, helps to investigate and diagnose those conditions in adults and children from across Lothian and the east of Scotland.

She said: ” This has definitely been well worth waiting for. It’s not just for us as staff, but also for the care that we are able to provide our patients now and in the years to come. It is a really exciting move.”

The move took place in different phases with the Department of Clinical Neurosciences Outpatient Department and Neurophysiology, moving first  along with the Health Records team.

They were followed by the DCN Imaging Team, DCN Admin staff, Neurologists, Neuropsychology and Specialist Nurses.

The plan, which was agreed with clinical teams, means that Inpatient Services, including theatres and Interventional Neuroradiology, will move at a later date to allow teams to support the COVID-19 response and critical care ward at the Western General Hospital.

Outpatients with an urgent requirement for a face-to-face consultation will now be seen in the new building however, in line with Covid restrictions across health services, routine, non-urgent appointments are not currently taking place, unless organised through video call technology “Near Me”.

Susan Goldsmith, Finance Director and Executive Lead for the project, said: ” We are delighted that our teams can move into the state-of-the-art facility which has been specifically created for them and their patients.

“This has been achieved thanks to the tremendous hard work of our project team and the contractors on site, Imtech and Bouygues, as well as George Street Asset Management following their appointment by our contractor, IHSL, last autumn. I’d like to thank them and our staff at DCN for their positive engagement.”

Fiona Halcrow, project manager, said: ” It has been a privilege to work with staff in the Department of Clinical Neuroscience, from the conception of the design to the commissioning of the departments. It is a wonderful new environment for staff to work in and I’m really proud to have been part of the team that helped create that for them.”

The move comes ahead of schedule after enhancement work and final commissioning work for DCN was completed within the building.

Children’s services in the adjacent Royal Hospital for Children and Young People (RHCYP) will move into their new home as soon as enhancement work is complete. The Cabinet Secretary for Health announced last week that changes may have to be made to the works programme and delivery of the RHCYP because of the complexity of the work involved and the impact of COVID-19.