WORK to find a developer to build a new £300m hospital at Wynyard is moving quickly with 58 potential bidders coming forward so far.
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust launched the 18-month procurement process for the huge project last month.
The planned new Wynyard hospital will bring about the closure of the university hospitals of Hartlepool and North Tees in Stockton.
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Hospital chiefs revealed at the latest board meeting there has been 58 expressions of interest from potential contractors since the project was advertised Europe-wide.
Kevin Oxley, the trust’s commercial director, said: “To date we have had 58 expressions of interest. Each will get sent an information pack with some pre-qualification questionnaires.
“They are to demonstrate the capability to take on such schemes, their track record, and qualifications.
“From there we go through and evaluate them financially and bring them back to the board for recommendation of a shortlist of three.”
Early next year, clinicians from the trust will work with bidders looking at the design and technology features of the new hospital.
Trust chairman Paul Garvin said: “We are on a rapid trajectory to get this thing on the road.”
Ninety people, including architects, developers and financiers, attended a bidders’ day held by the trust last week.
Mr Oxley said there would be regular updates brought to executives on the trust board as the project progresses.
Chief executive Alan Foster said progress with the new hospital project will allow it to push ahead with other service transformation under the Momentum: pathways to healthcare programme.
He said: “We are now able to move forward with the further service transformation that links in with the programme to bring care closer to home.
“The new hospital provides the context to move forward.”
If everything goes to plan, the trust expect the new hospital to open to patients late in 2016 or early 2017.
That is around two years later than originally planned after public funding for the scheme was suddenly withdrawn when the Coalition government came into power.
The trust is looking to major pension funds to borrow the money needed.