Anger at new hospital centre delay

ANGER was mounting at Ipswich Hospital today after the handover of its new £26million centre was delayed yet again - this time possibly for more than a month.

ANGER was mounting at Ipswich Hospital today after the handover of its new £26million centre was delayed yet again - this time possibly for more than a month.

Contractors Kier had pledged to give Ipswich Hospital control of the Garrett Anderson Centre yesterday, after previous problems with flooding and faulty electrical equipment delayed the original handover date in January.

But more technical problems, this time involving the ventilation system in the operating theatre which could affect infection control, put the changeover on hold, with no new official date yet set by Kier.

In a message to staff at the hospital, Steve Harrup, director of estate and facilities, said yesterday: “The contractor has just advised us that they will not achieve practical completion on the Garrett Anderson Centre today due to technical problems with a ventilation system, and therefore cannot handover the centre to the hospital.

“Representations are being made at the highest level to express the hospital's extreme disappointment at this further delay.”

The hospital said it believed the further delay would not stop it achieving national waiting time targets, but the news is a massive blow to morale as it was hoped the new centre would free up beds in the under-pressure hospital.

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The four-storey centre will house new departments for accident and emergency, critical care, day surgery and elective surgery.

Once Ipswich Hospital has the keys to the building there will be a four to five week commissioning period while equipment is moved into the centre.

A spokesman for Kier said: “We are bitterly disappointed that after the final push to achieve handover, a previously inspected system (the ventilation system) should have fluctuating test results.

“We have instructed our commissioning engineers to revisit the systems and we are confident they will achieve the correct balance.

“The contractor believes it may take to mid-April to satisfy all parties that the management system is performing consistently and robustly to the standard required.

“The contractor is however going to use his best endeavours to improve on this date which we consider to be a worst-case scenario.”

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