Princess Alexandra Hospital bosses concerned there are ‘insufficient skills and capability’ to build Essex scheme

An NHS trust looking to build a new hospital in Essex has raised concerns about whether it will be able to find a suitable contractor.

The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust was one of six to receive a share of £2.7bn of funding to build a new hospital last year as part of the first phase of the government’s health infrastructure plan (HIP).


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The new hospital is one of six announced by the government last autumn

But the trust’s board has raised concerns about whether it will be able to find the right contractor to build the Harlow scheme.

It said: “There is a risk that the delivery of the new hospital will be delayed because of failure to engage with a suitable contractor or that the additional funding is not forthcoming.”

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In papers published ahead of a board meeting this Thursday, the trust gave several reasons why it was concerned about being able to build the new hospital by 2025.

It said there was a “challenged contractor market and insufficient skills and capability”, adding there is also significant competition in the market due to a large number of HIP schemes already underway.

It also said there were concerns because of “high profile failures in hospital construction”. These include the two hospital projects in Liverpool and the West Midlands that were derailed by Carillion’s collapse almost three years ago.

As part of its risk register, the board said it considered the risk of the project, which has started soft market testing for contractors and is developing a detailed programme of work, being delayed to be ‘extreme’.

Other projects part of the first phase of the HIP are Barts Health NHS Trust’s plans to build a new Whipps Cross University Hospital in north-east London and Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust’s plans for a for a new St Helier Hospital in the capital’s south-west.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s plans for Leeds General Infirmary, the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust’s plans for the Leicester General and Leicester Royal sites, as well as the construction of a new Watford General hospital, are also sharing the £2.7bn funding pot.