New Smethwick super hospital being monitored amid fears of further delays
The prospect of further delays to a super hospital set to open four years late is being closely monitored, but bosses say no new problems have surfaced yet.
There are fears the coronavirus pandemic could create issues in the supply chain and lead to yet more delays on the Midland Metropolitan University Hospital.
Work is continuing on the Midland Met, in Smethwick, which is now being built by Balfour Beatty following the collapse of original contractor Carillion.
Around 160 workers are currently on site and it is hoped the number will rise to 900 by Christmas to ensure the hospital, which will become one of the leading healthcare facilities in the country, is built on time. It is currently due to open in summer 2022.
Toby Lewis, chief executive of the Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, which will run the site, also revealed further cash had been released to ensure teams could work while following social distancing measures.
A new trust report said: "TL (Toby Lewis) reported that the hospital was progressing well with around 160 people currently working on site which was expected to rise to 900 by Christmas.
"TL reported that some additional funds had been released to facilitate Balfour Beatty working on a more socially-distant basis. TL stated that the risk analysis of Balfour Beatty’s supply chain was ongoing, but no material delays had been flagged so far.
"The test centre in the car park continued but TL reported that it would probably be relocated elsewhere over the course of the summer."
The building of the Midland Met has been hit by a series of setbacks, with the pandemic now threatening to become the latest.
Midland Met will replace Sandwell General and Birmingham City hospitals to become the main hospital serving Sandwell and west Birmingham. Those hospitals will in turn be scaled down.
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