Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbet, Stirlingshire, boasts some of the most modern facilities in Europe.
It was opened last August at a cost of £300 million and was built to replace the nearby Falkirk and Stirling Royal Infirmaries which are being changed to community hospitals. The 860-bed hospital is the largest NHS hospital ever built in Scotland and provides medical services for 300,000 people in central Scotland. Patients benefit from free TVs, free internet access and meals cooked on the premises while state-of-the-art robots - which local school pupils are being encouraged to 'adopt' - are used to transport clinical waste and dirty linen, deliver food and dispense drugs.
The visitor isn't forgotten either because the hospital employs its own Ranger to oversee its 70 acres of woodland walks, ponds and visitors' garden.
It sounds just the place to be should hospital treatment be required.
I'm reliably informed by someone who has recently been an inpatient, that there are more staff than patients and the building has a desolate atmosphere. The reason isn't hard to find - there is no A and E department and people still have to travel to Falkirk or Stirling in an emergency.
That's not the only internal planning flaw. Confidential patient records are having to be taxied around the area because there are no facilities to store medical records in the new hospital. The local health authority is now spending £40,000 to decontaminate an old X-ray department in Falkirk Infirmary to store them. The reason given for the lack of storage is that 'it was planned to transfer all Forth Valley records to an electronic system and therefore paper records would not be required'.
The transfer of old records to an electronic system will take between three and five years a local councillor, who is on the board of NHS Forth Valley, was told. Meanwhile the Falkirk based Express Taxi firm, which is contracted to transport the records between the three hospitals, is making a handsome profit.
We really know how to waste public money.
The subject of pouring taxpayers' money down the drain is further highlighted by the Edinburgh trams fiasco. The latest news that Princes Street will be closed (again) from July until next spring to 'allow works on the tram line to be repaired', leaves me dumbfounded. Repaired? It's only just been built. This whole project should be binned.
Update: A reader (thanks Ian) kindly sent the following information:
It is indeed an impressive facility and the actual build cost of £286million will, under the PFI contract cost the taxpayer £1.6 Billion. Thanks Gordon!