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Midland Metropolitan Hospital opening date is now 2022

By David Cosgrove | Smethwick | Health | Published:

Health bosses have said a 2020 opening for the £350 million Midland Met Hospital now looks ‘impossible’ as plans to restart work on the site have ‘stalled’.

The hospital in Smethwick is around two-thirds complete but has been left untouched since January

Previously chiefs said they hoped the delayed build could be completed by 2020.

But Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust’s chief executive Toby Lewis has admitted efforts to transfer a contract from failed construction giant Carillion to another provider have hit the buffers.

An opening date of 2022 would be four years behind the original target of this autumn.

Warley MP John Spellar today described the delay as ‘shocking news for patients and dedicated staff’.

The hospital, in Grove Lane, Smethwick is around two-thirds complete but has been left untouched since January when Wolverhampton-based Carillion went into liquidation.

Engineering problems had already seen the opening date back before the collapse of Carillion saw work grind to a halt.

Mr Lewis told the Express & Star earlier this year it was ‘crucial’ the hospital was open by 2020 – but that goal now looks set to be missed.

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He outlined the hospital’s current plight in a note to Sandwell Council’s health and wellbeing board. This says: “In March we sought to execute a strategy together of restarting work and transferring the Carillion employees relevant to the build to a new construction provider.

“That strategy has stalled and now looks unlikely to progress in its current form.

“That makes it impossible to see that a delay can be mitigated to 2020, which was the trust’s intended best case solution. The options that remain for us all make an opening date for the new build of 2022 the most likely scenario.

“All parties involved remain committed to the Midland Metropolitan Hospital, which will open and provide outstanding facilities locally for many generations to come.

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“The delay is deeply disappointing and frustrating, and the hiatus over finding a solution is likewise concerning, however, the [health and wellbeing board] should be assured that there is no question mark over the new build.

“There remains uncertainty over when and how. That uncertainty will now take some time to resolve, because a willing partner must be sourced and funded.”

Councillor Bob Lloyd urged the Government to step up efforts to get the work schedule back on track.

He said: “The reconfiguration of the hospital is a major plan and it will stop us having two sites.

“It is a massive project, which needs to happen as soon as possible. They need to get on with it – the collapse of Carillion wasn’t the fault of the people of Sandwell but they are the ones being affected.

“Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and accept it will cost more money.

“The Government needs to make a commitment to show people from this area that they actually care about what’s happening.”

David Cosgrove

By David Cosgrove
Chief Reporter - @davidcosgrove_

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