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Public funds call to finish Midland Metropolitan Hospital build

By Dayna Farrington | Sandwell | Health | Published:

Hospital bosses want to use public finance to complete the doomed Midland Metropolitan Hospital project.

Work on the Midland Metropolitan site has stalled since January

Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospital Trust has taken back control of the Smethwick site.

The new public funding model reflects a view that the market for construction demands a specific solution to a two thirds built hospital – now due to open in 2022 with a formal procurement to start by this October.

Since January, the trust has worked with Government departments to select a preferred route.

A decision was taken in May to bring an end to the existing private finance contract with the Hospital Company (Sandwell).

On July 20, the contract was formally ended and the trust took back control of the new hospital site. On August 2, the trust’s board completed a review of its analysis of the right solution for local healthcare needs and taxpayer value.

Assessing either a new private finance option, or changing to a publicly funded model, the board has reversed its prior preference for PF2 and opted instead for a public funding model.

Richard Samuda, trust chairman, said: “In 2014 and again in 2018 we selected a private finance route for this badly needed facility.

"Our decision to ask for public funding reflects a view that the building needs urgent attention and a partnership approach with the construction sector.

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"Everyone involved accepts that after seven months there is a need to choose sooner rather than later the right option.

“I am delighted that joint work with Government officials has given rise to this recommendation, which the Board has accepted.”

The business case for completion now passes to NHS Improvement, the Department of Health and Social Care, and the Treasury.

They will consider the trust’s recommendation and make a decision between the options, granting public funding sufficient to manage completion and address the risks of changing contractor.

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On Monday the invitation to tender will be issued for an early and enabling works contract to restart key building work on the building this autumn.

Professor Nick Harding, chairman of Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), added: “This is a welcome decision to move forward the new hospital, which unlocks investment in primary care and mental health services locally and will improve acute care quality.”

The hospital will serve almost 700,000 people across Sandwell and the north west of Birmingham. While many services will remain on the existing hospital sites, the most complex, emergency care will be concentrated in the new facility.

Dayna Farrington

By Dayna Farrington
Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

Reporter for the Express & Star based at Wolverhampton.

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