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Skanska’s Royal Papworth Hospital delayed over cladding fears

2 July 2018 | By Neil Gerrard

Skanska has delayed the handover of the £165m Royal Papworth Hospital by "months", after revealing fire safety fears over cladding in the building.

The contractor had been due to hand over the building, on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, to The Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in July this year.

However, Skanska has delayed the programme after conducting checks with an independent tester to ensure the building meets the specifications set out in the original contract.

The Trust said it has now been informed by Skanska that insulation materials “that do not meet our original requirements” have been used in the lower part of the hospital building.

It added that it had decided not to accept handover of the building until Skanska has completed remedial work in accordance with its original requirements, delaying the hospital’s opening.

The trust planned to spend two months training staff and completing its equipping programme before opening the new building in September.

But the remedial work is expected to take a number of months.

Stephen Posey, chief executive at Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are extremely disappointed that we will not be able to open our new hospital in September as planned. Our staff have been working extremely hard to prepare for the move, and it is incredibly frustrating to discover a problem with the building at this late stage. However, we must ensure that our new building meets our original requirements.

“We do not underestimate the impact that this news will have on our staff. Providing clear information and support to them will be a priority for us over the coming weeks. In the months ahead, we will continue to focus on providing high quality services to our patients on our current site. We remain committed to the vision of the new hospital and the benefits it will bring to our staff and patients for many years to come.”

A Skanska spokesperson said: "The Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has announced a delay to the opening of its new hospital on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

"We remain in discussions with the Trust on this matter and we are working towards a resolution in order for the hospital to open as soon as possible.

"We share the Trust’s aim to uphold the highest standards for patients and staff."

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