Wynyard hospital cash talks ‘ongoing’ as cost of new building is revised down

A model of how the proposed hospital might look.
A model of how the proposed hospital might look.

A HEALTH trust’s long-running battle to get funding for a new hospital continues.

At a meeting of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust’s board of directors yesterday, trust chiefs said discussions with health regulator Monitor, and the Department of Health, from which it needs £100m to fund the planned new hospital at Wynyard, are ongoing.

The cost of the hospital will be £272m, down from £299m, based on a revised public sector comparator scheme, but trust chiefs say this will not compromise quality and is based on “competitive dialogue”.

A report to the meeting says the trust is working closely with the Department of Health “to satisfy the value for money criteria and health benefits analysis required under a PF2 solution” and that the £100m contribution from the Department is to “improve the affordability of the scheme”.

It adds: “The review of the OBC (outline business case) and long term financial model by the Department of Health and Monitor continues.

“Monitor is in the final stage of the affordability assessment and have produced a revised downside model which the trust has queried, the current model suggests that the trust will have difficulty in meeting the new risk assessment framework financial metrics in the immediate years after opening the new hospital.”

But it adds that the trust’s Technology and Innovation Group is looking at a number of initiatives that will result in efficiencies to support the new ways of working envisaged for the hospital.

Trust chairman Paul Garvin told the Mail afterwards: “It’s an ongoing discussion. Our key focus is to remain focused on having a quality hospital that serves our people well because it’s got to last for the future, so it’s got to be right.”

He said the cost is constantly being “refined” and it could come down further through “competitive dialogue” with bidders.

Mr Garvin told the meeting, held at the University Hospital of Hartlepool, he had a meeting with Monitor’s chief executive David Bennett and its executive director of assessment to discuss the trust’s outline business case for the new hospital and its affordability.

Lynne Hodgeson, the trust’s director of finance and information technology, told the meeting: “We have responded in detail to all the queries from Monitor and we have completed all but one of the queries from the Department of Health based on a capital build of £272m.

“The trust needs about £100m from the Department of Health and we require their assessment to see if we are going to receive that £100m from them.

“That’s part of the process we are going through at the moment which I think will conclude in the near future.”