Health Secretary: I’ll get Midland Metropolitan Hospital project back on track
The Health Secretary has vowed to ensure work re-starts on Sandwell’s stalled super hospital ‘as soon as possible’ – as he defended the Government for not stepping in to save the project sooner.
Matt Hancock said he was confident the ‘pieces were in place’ to get the Midland Metropolitan Hospital back on track after a deal was agreed which will see the Government fund part of the £475 million project.
Work is expected to resume in the autumn on the scheme, which ran into disaster with the collapse of construction firm Carillion.
The two-thirds-complete hospital site has effectively been left abandoned since the start of this year with the hold up adding tens of millions of pounds to the cost and delaying opening by three years.
Some work, which has already been completed, will have to be re-done as the site has deteriorated having been left to the elements.
Mr Hancock, who replaced Jeremy Hunt at the Department of Health last month, said he had made ending the impasse over the hospital one of his key priorities on taking the job.
He told the Express & Star: “I’m determined to get this much-needed new building, the Midland Met, going again as soon as possible.
“I came into the job six weeks ago with it stuck. I immediately set to work to find a solution. We have got the financial solution sorted and we now need to get the building going again as soon as possible.”
He added: “I am now confident all the pieces are in place to get going.”
The Health Secretary, who was speaking during a visit to Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, said he understood the frustration over the delays on delivering the Met, which was meant to open this winter.
The Government will now spend more than £300m completing the hospital after agreeing a bail-out package.
Mr Hancock said: “I entirely understand the frustration at the delay because of the mismanagement of a privately-controlled company (Carillion) but I have acted as swiftly as I can to get it going again and sort out the finances. Everything is in place to get it going again.”