Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cash Row over 'Super Hospital' as Costs Soar to [Pounds Sterling]1billion; 'WORLD-BEATING' HEALTH COMPLEX MORE EXPENSIVE THAN MILLENNIUM DOME

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cash Row over 'Super Hospital' as Costs Soar to [Pounds Sterling]1billion; 'WORLD-BEATING' HEALTH COMPLEX MORE EXPENSIVE THAN MILLENNIUM DOME

Article excerpt

Byline: ISABEL OAKESHOTT

A ROW has broken out over the soaring cost of London's first "super hospital".

The complex - which would house a merged St Mary's in Paddington, Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals - is designed to create a world-beating healthcare, teaching and research centre.

But the Paddington Health Campus is set to cost [pounds sterling]1 billion to build - more than three times its original estimate and [pounds sterling]200 million more than the Millennium Dome.

Critics have branded the project unworkable and called on health chiefs to return to the drawing board.

They fear NHS money is being ploughed into a white elephant which is draining vital resources from other hospitals in the capital.

The Paddington campus is to be built using the private finance initiative (PFI), whereby commercial concerns and not the Government run major facilities.

In return for saving the taxpayer huge, one-off building costs, the Government rents the finished building and pays an annual management fee to the private company.

The cost of the campus was originally [pounds sterling]360million but, when it was discovered that the planned wards were too small, the scheme had to be redesigned.

That brought it up to [pounds sterling]800 million, which is set to increase by another [pounds sterling]200million because planners have insisted much of it should be built on expensive land in the Paddington Basin area.

The rising cost of the project will be seized upon by critics of the PFI scheme, who argue they are driven by firms wanting to make profits rather than meet the needs of the NHS.

The scheme suffered another blow today when key staff at the Brompton and Harefield hospitals, which will close if the new campus is completed by 2007 as planned, said they will not relocate.

Workers at both hospitals - including surg eons, nurses and administrative staff - were polled by the Institute for Employment Studies, which is regularly used for NHS surveys. …

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