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Midland Met Hospital delay is affecting recruitment, chief reveals

By Alex Ross | Smethwick | Health | Published:

The delay on work to building a super hospital in the Black Country is making it hard for the hospital trust to recruit, its boss has revealed.

The Midland Met Hospital

The Midland Metropolitan Hospital will not be open until at least 2020. It was planned to be open next year.

The collapse of construction giant Carillion in January and inability to yet appoint a new contractor has resulted in the delay.

It has also led to a prediction the cost of the initially-priced £350 million project will cost £425m.

Toby Lewis, chief executive of Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, also said the delay was not helping recruitment.

He said: "Until I've got a contractor on board I cannot be certain [on the timeline for opening].

"I think certainty is very important because not only do local people want to know when facilities will be replaced but the hospital is a fantastic recruiting sergeant.

"The uncertainty gets in the way of our ability to recruit and retain staff and getting certainty back into this situation is very important.

"The hospital is going to open, but knowing when it is going to open is a very important thing for the ability to retain and recruit staff."

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He said there were currently up to 30 consultant vacancies and a 'significant number of vacancies' for trainee and junior staff at the trust, which operates at Sandwell General Hospital and City Hospital in Birmingham.

He said: "Remember we have some very ambitious goals around the quality of care we want to provide.

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"Healthcare is a people business so you need to have people in place."

Mr Lewis said the delay, however, was not making care provided at the two hospitals unsafe.

Instead, he said it was providing a risk to the quality of care offered at the two hospitals.

The Hospital Company, which was in partnership on the new hospital venture, with Carillion is to pick a new contractor to finish the job.

The hospital is currently two thirds built.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has raised concern over the lack of progress.

In a letter to Cabinet Office Minster David Lidington, he said: "I believe we need to act quickly and ensure the people of Sandwell and West Birmingham have the hospital facilities they deserve.”

Alex Ross

By Alex Ross
Investigations Editor - @alexross_star

Investigations Editor at the Express & Star. Everyone has a story - tell me yours.

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