Is new hospital wing to blame for Mid Essex Trust cash crisis?

Broomfield Hospital

Broomfield Hospital

First published in News

A MULTI-MILLION pound 300-bed wing which opened at Broomfield Hospital in 2012 could be the root of financial problems there.

Mid Essex Hospital Services, which counts the hospital as its main site, has been referred to the health secretary Jeremy Hunt .

In 2012, the trust paid French contractor Bouygues £148.1 million to build and maintain the wing.

As part of the contract the trust, which employs more than 3,800 staff, must pay Bouygeus £16 million a year for building and maintenance in a deal spanning 32 years.

A spokesman for the trust said: “A number of consequences were made at the time of signing off the deal for the wing.”

The spokesman wouldn’t add what those “consequences” were.

He would only say: “Broomfield Hospital has some of the most modern hospital facilities in the east of England, and it is the value and scale of the site that results in the associated costs being significantly above average.

“In addition, a number of the compromises were made at the time the new wing was signed off and has now made this quite an inefficient site, for example pathology is located in a number of buildings rather than in a central hub.”

The Mid Essex Trust provides services from five sites in and around Chelmsford, Maldon and Braintree.

Marcine Waterman, controller of the audit commission made the referral toMr Hunt. The commission’s role is to protect the public purse She said: “This level of reporting is worrying and reflects the increasing risks to the financial sustainability of individual NHS trusts as they continue to face sizeable financial pressures due to a rising demand for services and the necessary focus on quality of care, whilst balancing the need for continued cost savings.”

Chelmsford MP Simon Burns said his understanding was that the trust was working with NHS England and the Department of Health over its finances.

He welcomed the close look at the hospital finances.

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