THE Scottish Government’s plans for a new network of trauma centres across Scotland have been shelved for at least three years.

In 2014, ministers said that four major trauma centres in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow would be up and running from from 2016.

But First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has admitted the “scale and complexity” of the changes meant full implementation would have to be delayed.

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She has announced an extra £5 million in 2017 to speed up the development of the network, which it is estimated will benefit about 6,000 seriously injured patients each year.

Speaking at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, Sturgeon said: “Given the scale and complexity of the changes required to deliver the network, we should need to recognise it will take at least three years to fully implement it.”

Labour health spokesman Anas Sarwar said serious questions needed to be asked about the delay.

He said: “SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison needs to make a statement to parliament as a matter of urgency on this and outline what impact this delay will have on staff pressure and patient care.”

Speaking about the timetable for the work, Robison said: “Across the whole of Scotland it is going to take at least three years, but actually the vast bulk of development in Dundee and Aberdeen will take place in the next year, year and a half.

“They are already getting on with the job and are well-placed to start putting things in place.

“We will see over the next one to two years Dundee and Aberdeen getting up and running. Edinburgh and Glasgow will take a little longer than that.”