Unite has described the National Audit office report that has been published today (January 17) as highlighting the government failures to get the two flagship Carillion hospitals built, creating misery for patients and staff forced to cope with failing buildings.
The report has confirmed that the Royal Liverpool Hospital will be five years late in being completed while the delay for the Midland Metropolitan Hospital on the Birmingham/Sandwell border will be delayed by at least three years and nine months.
The report describes how after Carillion collapsed on 15 January 2018 the government has struggled to ensure that work on both hospitals was restarted.
Some of the delay was a result of the government being initially still wedded to completing both projects under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). However the problems were so great that not only could PFI not be used for the two hospitals but the government has scrapped in its entirety.
The report does highlight that the government wrongly paid £42m in compensation to the private investors on the Royal Liverpool. If it had delayed paying the compensation until it was fully aware of the cost of the project to complete, the money could have been saved.
“The report makes for grim reading and endorses what hospital patients and NHS staff in Liverpool and the West Midlands already knew,” said Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail.
“Two desperately needed hospitals are going to be years late and in the meantime local communities are left with facilities that are no longer fit for purpose,” she added. “The responsibility for these delays has to lie squarely at the door of the government, which consistently failed to prioritise the overriding need that these hospitals had to be built.
“While the report notes the financial cost of the projects the human cost of the delays of completing the hospitals has not been recognised.”