THE maintenance bill for NHS Fife's buildings has soared to £90 million.

The backlog repair costs for properties has gone from £11.5m to approximately £89m.

The main reason for the rise has been the deterioration of Victoria Hospital's tower block.

A report to NHS Fife's board from director of estates, facilities and capital services Andrew Fairgrieve said the structure at the Kirkcaldy hospital was now 50-years-old and in need of a £30m refit.

"The service infrastructure is poor and failure of the cast iron drainage system is commonplace, giving operational cause for concern," he said. "Our goal is to remove inpatient services from the phase two tower block and occupy with outpatient and non-clinical services.

"Most inpatient services have now been moved from the tower to reduce risk but we still require the capacity for other outpatient services.

"The external concrete-clad curtain walling was given temporary repair and recoating some eight years ago but the manufacturer’s warranty has lapsed. A further professional survey has given assurance that the cladding will last a further five years, giving us time to relocate the remaining inpatients and progress with the decant strategy."

Mr Fairgrieve said the tower's aluminium window cladding system was also showing signs of ageing after a number of window sections failed when left open during high winds.

He added: "The system incorporates asbestos panelling, therefore proposals to replace the entire curtain walling systems around the tower are being investigated."

As well as costs for the tower block, the deteriorating condition of hospital lifts also needs to be looked at while steam and medical gas systems at Queen Margaret Hospital are likely to cost around £2.5m.

NHS Fife aims to bring at least 90 per cent of all essential properties to a minimum condition ‘B’ (Satisfactory) by 2020.

"The programme to achieve this has been determined through risk analysis and projected available funding or disposal and targeting of remaining essential properties which fall within the ‘Unsatisfactory’ condition category," added Mr Fairgrieve.

"This is proving difficult due to the high levels of investment required around the Victoria Hospital tower block and other phase two buildings which have recently reached 50-years-old and must now be classified as Condition C.

"These works were expected in 2012 but capacity issues precluded moving forward. Decanting of the tower in particular will be necessary to carry out works and an initial agreement will be drawn up shortly to consider options now that the majority of inpatient services have been relocated."