Government steps in to rescue Carillion hospital with work to start next year

After eight months of sitting idle, a long proposed state-of-the-art hospital for the Midlands is finally expected to open in 2022 after the government agreed to bail out the project.

The Midland Metropolitan Hospital which was originally due to open in October 2018 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 meaning bosses hope for its opening now four years later than planned.

The construction saga has run all year with Theresa May back in April telling MPs that cabinet minister David Liddington was working with the West Midlands mayor Andy Street to find a resolution. 

The mayor earlier in the year had 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.

Toby Lewis, the chief executive of the Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, has also revealed the trust predicted “it will cost about £100m to £125m more than had originally been anticipated” to finish the project. But today’s agreement will see the government provide public funding for the remainder of the building work.

Commenting on the bail out, health minister Steve Barclay said: "By taking this bold step, we are not only giving patients in Sandwell and west Birmingham world-class NHS facilities on their doorstep but also showing our determination to build an NHS fit for the future – all whilst making sure taxpayers’ money is spent in the best possible way”.

The new hospital will replace some services currently offered at City Hospital in Birmingham and Sandwell Hospital as well as offering an acute centre for the care of adults and children.

Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust chief executive, Toby Lewis, said: “This is absolutely fantastic news. After a huge amount of work by teams across Whitehall and the Trust, and with the voices of local residents, clinicians, and stakeholders having been being clearly heard, we are delighted that we now have a definitive publicly financed plan. Midland Met will open in 2022, and by then our partnerships with local GPs, schools and care homes will be even deeper and more integrated than today. 

West Midlands mayor Andy Street added: “The collapse of Carillion left everybody involved in this vital project in a hugely challenging situation with no easy solutions. That we have successfully found a way forward is testament to the work of the trust, Government and local partners."

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