Hospital bidders drop out

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HEALTH chiefs remain confident that the construction of a new multi-million pound hospital will still go ahead despite two of the original firms in the bidding process dropping out of the running.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has started the procurement process to select the organisation to develop the 568-bed state-of-the-art hospital to be built at Wynyard Business Park.

Laing O’Rourke and Brookfield Multiplex Europe are the two organisations currently competing to become the preferred bidder for the scheme, due to open its doors in 2017.

The third bidder, Iridium Concesiones de Infraestructuras - a Spanish-based consortium - has informed the trust that they are unable to continue in the process.

Trust officials say they had contacted a consortium called FCC/Interserve, which was a close fourth in the original bidding competition, to invite them to bid.

But their representatives felt that progress on the scheme was too far advanced for it to be able to catch up without causing a serious delay in design and construction, which officials say was not acceptable to the trust.

Trust bosses also said that there are also “high profile financial institutions” in the running to fund the scheme.

And it hopes to announce the preferred “bidder and funder” early in 2014.

Chief executive Alan Foster said: “In schemes of this size and complexity there are always ups and downs. We’re disappointed that Iridium has decided not to continue with its bid and that FCC/Interserve could not meet our timescales.

“In Laing O’Rourke and Brookfield Mutliplex Europe Ltd we have two very strong organisations with a proven track record of building excellent hospitals and we very much look forward to receiving their bids.

“There follows a thorough evaluation process after which we will announce our preferred bidder.”