‘Potential risks’ to plan

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HOSPITAL chiefs decided to start the search for a builder for a new £300m hospital at Wynyard despite feedback which flagged up a series of financial risks.

Independent regulator Monitor highlighted six potential risks over the financing of the project.

They are based on the uncertain economic times and against a backdrop of the trust having to find around £40m worth of savings over the next three years.

The hospital trust said the review confirmed risks the board had already identified.

But it remains confident it can deliver the scheme and still make savings without compromising quality of care.

The trust said it has to make savings whether it moves to a new hospital or not.

Chairman Paul Garvin said: “Of course we do know that the financial environment is very difficult and we are mindful of that.

“The review has reminded us that the situation is extremely challenging.

“However we have a proven track record of high performance, high quality and financial control and we have every intention of continuing performing in this way in the years to come.”

The trust added while its future income levels are hard to predict it believes they will be enough to support the new hospital.

Steps have been taken to minimise costs associated with moving from two hospitals to one.

The trust expects to have to find more savings even after any move to Wynyard.

A spokesman said: “However we bear in mind that we would have to make these efficiencies whether we were occupying a new hospital or staying in two old hospitals where working efficiently to new clinical standards is almost impossible.”

The trust says funding from a pension-holding company looks like being the best option but will also explore hybrid schemes which may give better value for money.

A spokesman added pension fund holders “are looking for a steady return on investment from a well managed, successful and well regulated organisation, and to date they appear satisfied that we fit that criteria.”