Ministers urged to intervene on Carillion hospital with delays to cost up to £125m

The West Midlands mayor Andy Street is calling on the government to act swiftly in a bid to restart the construction of the Midland Metropolitan Hospital which has been on hold since the collapse of Carillion.

In a letter to the cabinet, the mayor has also urged the government to support Skanska to complete the construction after Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust identified the firm as its preferred option moving forward. Street is keen to ensure the hospital faces little more delay with the costs set to spiral.

The hospital was originally due to open in October 2018 but that was pushed back to spring 2019 after M&E design issues were identified. But work on the £350m hospital has stalled since January when the industry giant Carillion liquidated.

Toby Lewis, the chief executive of the Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, has previously revealed the trust predicted “it will cost about £100m to £125m more than had originally been anticipated” to finish the project.

In his letter, Street said: “The hospital company, which is leading the project under a PF2 contract, has successfully identified a preferred replacement contractor, Skanska, to start an early works contract which will help avoid further delays to the project. I acknowledge there are other alternatives, which may be preferred, for example a wholesale re-procurement of the PF2 contract, or self-delivery under another form by the trust. However, I share some of the trust’s concerns about the time this would take. This would cause a potential delay to moving to the new site, with inevitable knock-on for medical services. I believe we need to act quickly and ensure the people of Sandwell and West Birmingham have the hospital facilities they deserve.”

During prime minister’s questions, Theresa May revealed that cabinet minister David Liddington was working with the West Midlands mayor to find a resolution.

She said: "The Department for Health and Social Care is working actively on it but also the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is doing so. He has also been in discussions with the mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, who has also been in discussions with the trust. We recognise the level of concern that is being raised on this issue and we are working to resolve it."

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