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Scrutiny pledge on Midland Metropolitan Hospital firms

By Richard Guttridge | Sandwell | Health | Published:

Health bosses will closely scrutinise the finances of any firm wanting to complete the Midland Met Hospital to avoid more delays following the Carillion collapse.

The Midland Metropolitan Hospital site

Sandwell NHS Trust chief executive Toby Lewis said “financial viability” would be examined “in considerable detail” before giving the green light to any contractor to take over the delayed project.

Trust bosses are hoping to choose a new builder by the summer so work can start on completing the £475 million hospital, now due to open three years late in 2022.

Mr Lewis said all steps possible would be taken to ensure there are no further delays, and that would include analysing Cabinet Office data on firms – something he said wasn’t available last time.

He said: “The financial viability of both the bidding company and any parent company will be looked into in considerable detail.

“As far as we can access Cabinet Office assessments, as well as local assessments, then we will make use of that – that would be something that wasn’t available last time.”

The hospital boss defended the decision to hand the original contract for the Midland Met to Carillion, which went bust last year, plunging the build into crisis.

He said: “We looked in some detail at their financial viability when their bid came in in 2015, and I’m not sure it would be fair to say that they were insolvent at that point.”

Balfour Beatty has been carrying out remedial works on the Midland Met but no fresh work on the building of the hospital has yet taken place. The trust has received several expressions of interest from contractors and is expected to whittle them down before naming a preferred bidder in July.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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