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Government missed chance to get Midland Met Hospital back on track - MP

By George Makin | Sandwell | Health | Published:

The Government missed an opportunity to get the Midland Metropolitan Hospital back on track by not including it in 20 new NHS projects announced this week, a Black Country MP has said.

Work at the Midland Metropolitan Hospital has been at a standstill since January 2018

John Spellar, the Labour MP for Warley, was speaking after the announcement of an additional £850 million to pay for capital NHS projects across the country.

University Hospitals Birmingham, which runs the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, which runs the main hospitals in Stoke and Stafford, are both set to benefit from Boris Johnson's funding pledge but the trust in charge of the Midland Metropolitan project is not.

Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Hospital Trust is instead waiting for the Treasury to sign off on £358m of funding to allow work to restart on the "super-hospital", which has been left partially built for 18 months.

Balfour Beatty has been lined up to take over the hospital which was being built by Carillion

Work at the site in Grove Lane, Smethwick, has been at a standstill since main contractor Carillion went bust in January 2018.

Balfour Beatty has been lined up to take over the work, but the trust needs Government approval before the project can move forward.

Toby Lewis, chief executive of the hospital trust which also runs Sandwell General and City hospitals, recently warned a meeting of Birmingham and Sandwell councillors that if the deal wasn’t ratified soon the hospital could miss its completion date of 2022 and end up costing more.

He said: “If we have not signed the contract by October, then it would not be possible to open by the time of the Commonwealth Games, moreover it won’t be possible to open the hospital for £358 million.”

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Mr Spellar said he is lobbying the Department of Health and the Treasury to "get a move on" and approve the funding.

John Spellar and Toby Lewis with construction workers on the Midland Metropolitan hospital site

He is now writing to Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Chancellor Sajid Javid expressing his concerns.

He said: “I think they should have taken this opportunity to include this in the package, which would have been very welcome but I chasing them to say they need to get this site signed off.”

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He added while the Metropolitan remained unfinished costs of maintaining the existing Sandwell General and City Hospital were increasing.

“All these delays means they have been putting off some maintenance work but clearly they will need to do it to keep the sites running.

“They need it. They need the extra bed space. Their plans for the West Midlands require those extra beds.”

Included in the Prime Minister's spending plans was £97.1m for University Hospitals Birmingham to spend on a new purpose-built hospital facility and £17.6m for University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust to create three new modern wards to improve capacity and patient flow in Stoke

George Makin

By George Makin
@GeorgePMakin

Local Democracy Reporter covering Sandwell and Dudley.

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