Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton has welcomed an announcement from the First Minister that the Scottish Government will save Edinburgh’s historic Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion.
This U-turn comes after a hard fought community and cross party campaign and after the Lib Dems secured a vital commitment towards a replacement facility from the Scottish Government, as part exchange for Liberal Democrat votes for the Scottish budget, earlier this year.
In those negotiations, the Lib Dems persuaded the Government to protect specialist eye services within the City of Edinburgh as well as securing a massive boost to mental health funding. In this afternoon’s announcement, the First Minister made good on that commitment and promised “the renewal and replacement of health facilities across Scotland - including the Edinburgh Eye Pavilion.”
Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
“This is a huge victory today, not just for the cross party MSPs who worked to save the Eye Pavilion, but also for everyone across Edinburgh and the Lothians who fought to see the promise of a replacement facility in the capital made real. The First Minister’s announcement is welcome, but it should have come much sooner. Even after securing the protection of specialist eye services, the Scottish Government was attempting to rail road a more casual set up, with different treatments and services dispersed across the Lothian region.”
“I know from both constituency correspondence, and conversations on the doorsteps throughout the recent election campaign that this was a major issue for local communities. The thought of losing the Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion was genuinely upsetting for people, especially those who are affected by full or partial sight loss.”
“I am delighted that Edinburgh no longer risks being the only capital city in Europe without a dedicated eye care centre. This demonstrates what can be achieved when politicians seek to work productively, on a cross party basis, for meaningful change.”