Pressured Royal Liverpool Hospital workers are shown managing a flood caused by decrepit pipes – the tenth in 2018 – in a new BBC documentary that highlights the impact of Carillion’s collapse on patients.
The footage shows patients stuck in ambulances because of the deluge and staff struggling to move a woman to an intensive care ward due to the lifts stopping working, while the nearly-complete replacement building that Carillion was responsible for building stands unused nearby.
Unite said the documentary, which was filmed at the end of 2018 and shows patients and staff struggling to cope with conditions in the dilapidated hospital, exposed the “human misery” caused by repeated government failures over Carillion.
The new Royal was due to have opened in March 2017, however the£325m project was already a year late when Carillion collapsed into compulsory liquidation in January 2018.
A year later, not only has work not yet restarted on the project, but major structural problems have been identified.
The load bearing beams contain major cracks and it has also beendiscovered that the cladding on the hospital is a fire risk.
It is expected that it will cost in excess of £100m to complete the hospital and it will not be operational until 2020, three years late.
Unite regional secretary for the North West, Ritchie James, said: “(The documentary) is exposing the human misery directly caused by repeated government failures.
Asleep at the wheel
“As a result of the government being asleep at the wheel, patients are facing being treated for over three years in a hospital that is no longer capable of meeting their needs.
“Our members working at the Royal are being forced to work in impossible conditions and are still somehow providing exemplary care to patients.”
Citing the government’s failure to monitor the project when it was active and subsequent failure to ensure the work was not delayed because of Carillion’s collapse, James called on the government to spare no effort in getting the hospital built and operational as soon as possible.
Laing O’Rourke has been appointed to complete the construction work and Unite is campaigning to ensure that the workers engaged on the project are directly employed (not bogusly self-employed) and are not placed on exploitative contracts such as operating via an umbrella company.
James added, “Unite is in the process of stepping up our campaign with the NHS Trust and Laing O’Rourke to ensure that construction workers are treated fairly, safely and not exploited when work resumes on the Royal.”
Unite has launched a similar campaign to ensure workers on the Midland Metro hospital – also delayed because of Carillion – are treated fairly by any new contractor.
Criminal investigations call
Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail has repeatedly called for criminal investigations into Carillion’s collapse.
She said, “If what has happened is not illegal, then it should be.”
Last month Unite released a major report Ending Bandit Capitalism: Learning the lessons following Carillion’s collapse which is a blueprint of what the government needs to do in order to prevent future corporate collapses.
Hospital airs on BBC 2 at 9pm tomorrow.