Liverpool

Carillion report: Royal Liverpool Hospital a 'monument to greed'

Royal Liverpool University Hospital
Image caption The Royal Liverpool Hospital building will cost £335m

Liverpool's incomplete new hospital is a "creaking monument to... greed," said a parliamentary committee chairman.

The criticism from Birkenhead MP Frank Field follows a damning report into a "rotten corporate culture" at construction giant Carillion.

Building of the new £335m Royal Liverpool Hospital stalled in February and local politicians have called on the government to intervene.

The Department of Health has been contacted for comment.

Construction of the 646-bed hospital was already almost a year overdue when Carillion filed for compulsory liquidation earlier this year, with debts of around £1.5bn.

Image caption Much of the work on the hospital was close to completion when Carillion collapsed

Mr Field, who chairs the parliamentary work and pensions committee, said the hospital now "stands gathering cobwebs, as a creaking monument to the greed and hubris of Carillion's directors".

Louise Ellman MP, whose Liverpool Riverside constituency includes the hospital, said the hospital is around 80 or 90% complete but "cannot be opened" until a new contractor is appointed.

"The people of Liverpool are losing out," she said.

"I understand negotiations are under way but a deal has not been reached and ministers must assist the process as a matter of urgency."

'Accountancy tricks'

The hospital "was at the forefront of the accountancy tricks Carillion used to convince the outside world that all was rosy", said Mr Field.

His committee's investigation into the company's collapse said "an internal peer review of Carillion's Royal Liverpool Hospital contract reported in November 2016 that it was making a loss.

"Carillion's management overrode that assessment and insisted on a healthy profit margin being assumed in the 2016 accounts.

"The difference between those two assessments was around £53 million, the same loss included for the hospital contract in the July 2017 profit warning."

Source: Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Work and Pensions Committee

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said: "Carillion's collapse cannot and must not delay completion of the Royal Liverpool University Hospital any longer than it already has done.

"We are talking about a vital public service and we need to see Jeremy Hunt and the Department of Health take a much more prominent role in getting things moving."

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said "I call upon central government to step in and provide the funding and support to deliver the new hospital that we need. This is about more than politics - this is about people's lives."

The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust said negotiations to appoint a replacement contractor are continuing and hope to do so by the start of June.

"Obviously, no one wants that new building more than we do," said a spokesman.

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