A consortium including Laing O’Rourke and John Laing has launched a legal battle to reclaim millions of pounds in costs over the scrapped £711m Leicester Hospitals PFI scheme

The Triskilion consortium, which also includes Serco and Portfolio Solutions (Northern Ireland), has lodged papers in the High Court against the Department of Health and University Hospitals of Leicester National Healthcare.

The details of the claim cannot be made public until it has been acknowledged by the defendant, but it is understood that it will run to tens of millions of pounds. The legal action has followed two years of attempts to resolve the dispute through means such as mediation.

The PFI scheme, on which Triskilion was appointed preferred bidder in March 2005, was cancelled in July 2007 after a long-running wrangle over costs.

The project’s original budget was £904m, but this was scaled back to £711m in 2006 after a government review of all major health PFI projects.

Triskilion has been left with no option but to seek redress through the courts


Then, in 2007, the consortium revised its price estimate up to £921m and said there was no guarantee the cost would not rise further. This triggered nine weeks of debate with the Department of Health, which ended with the project being cancelled.

It was reported at the time that £23m had been spent on preparing for the scheme, and that the rising costs were linked with the difficulty of refurbishing many of the existing hospital buildings.

A spokesperson for Triskilion said: “Triskilion has been attempting to resolve this issue for more than two years and has regrettably been left with no other option than to seek redress through the courts.”

The five-year construction programme was intended at the time to be the largest PFI hospital scheme outside London and the third largest in the UK.