Construction of the state-of-the-art Royal Liverpool Hospital will restart under a public sector deal, following the collapse of Carillion.
The government announced its support for the local trust to end the private finance deal and for work to continue on the brand new hospital with public sector funding. This will minimise the delay in opening the hospital to patients across Merseyside.
Construction work had begun on the new hospital, part of The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust NHS Trust, under a PFI deal with Carillion, which ground to halt when the construction giant went into liquidation.
Since then, the trust and the government have worked closely to find a solution that puts patients first. Despite constructive engagement from the lenders who have funded the project to date, they have concluded they will be unable to complete and operate the hospital under the original terms. The government has announced its support for proposals to complete construction work within the public sector as quickly as possible, and open the hospital to patients in 2020.
The hospital will have 646 beds on 23 wards, including a state-of-the-art critical care unit and a large clinical research facility, plus 18 operating theatres and one of the largest emergency departments in the North West.
Health Minister Steve Barclay said: “When I visited the new Royal Liverpool Hospital in May, I made clear the government’s commitment to ensuring the construction of this state-of-the-art hospital was finished. I am pleased to today confirm that the government will step in and publicly fund the remaining work so that the hospital is completed, as it has also done with the Midland Metropolitan Hospital in Birmingham.
“It is a central purpose of PFI that construction risk sits with the funders. This has also been at the heart of the time it has taken since January when Carillion went into liquidation, as the lenders commissioned detailed expert assessments of the previous construction work.
“The trust’s board agreed yesterday that the PFI agreement should be terminated after the 30th September 2018, which under the contract is the latest acceptable date for the hospital to be completed. The government has made clear it supports the trust’s decision.”
Aidan Kehoe, Chief Executive at Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals, said: “We welcome the statement from Health Minister Steve Barclay. We would like to thank our government colleagues, The Hospital Company and funders EIB and Legal and General for all their hard work over the last nine months. We have all strived to maintain the existing project agreement, but it has become clear to us that this will no longer be possible. Our board has now agreed that the existing project agreement should be terminated, and that the trust should complete the project.
“The trust intends to continue working with the existing construction contractors involved, so that the construction finishes as soon as possible, maximising the value for money of the taxpayers’ investment in the hospital.”