Hospital ‘left in unsafe condition’ by private contractor

The PFI contractor, Whittington Facilities Ltd, left a hospital ‘in an unsafe condition’ for nine months after a fire which required patients to be evacuated, a trust has claimed in legal papers. Whittington Health Trust is fighting a £56m compensation claim from the administrators of a firm which was responsible for the maintenance of part of its hospital, before the firm went into administration in 2020.

The Whittington Health Trust’s legal defence is that it was right to withhold payment from Whittington Facilities Ltd because of the firm’s failure to remedy fire safety problems.

The administrators claim the trust’s decision to withhold service payments following a fire in January 2018 caused the company to enter administration. Ownership of the private finance initiative buildings transferred back to the trust on termination of the contract. This left it responsible for the maintenance and costs of refurbishments, and the trust has been pursuing WFL for these costs. Both sides have been negotiating over the final compensation sum that is due following the termination of the PFI agreement, but the mediation process has failed.

Full story in The HSJ, 14 April 2023

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