HOSPITAL BACKERS DITCHED FOR SERIOUS SAFETY BREACH; Maintenance Contract Scrapped for Fault Which Could Have Put Patients and Staff in Danger

Coventry Evening Telegraph (England), October 13, 2011 | Go to article overview

HOSPITAL BACKERS DITCHED FOR SERIOUS SAFETY BREACH; Maintenance Contract Scrapped for Fault Which Could Have Put Patients and Staff in Danger


Byline: Warren Manger

ONE of the firms that funded Coventry's pounds 400million super-hospital has seen its lucrative maintenance deal scrapped over a major safety breach.

Skanska is one of two companies who put up the cash to build University Hospital in Walsgrave under a private finance initiative (PFI).

As well as being repaid with interest the firm stood to profit from a multi-million pound maintenance contract covering the entire site.

However, in July the Telegraph revealed furious hospital bosses were reviewing the deal after discovering a ventilation fault in a laboratory that could have put staff in danger if a chemical or sample spill occurred.

Skanska will now be stripped of the flagship contract, with a new firm already lined up to take over. City councillor Dave Nellist said the fiasco raised fresh concerns about the PFI deal, calling for the safety review and firm's contracts to be published for all to see.

"At the council we would have to make this an open process, with documents explaining how and why it was taking place. The hospital spends public money so I can't see why it doesn't," he said. Until now scrutiny of the PFI deal has centred upon the cost - taxpayers will pay pounds 3.3billion by 2030.

The contractual controversy has now shifted focus to the transparency and accountability of the deal. University Hospital was built by the Coventry and Rugby Hospital Company (also known as Projectco), a joint venture between two international firms Skanska and Innisfree. …

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