Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, is demanding urgent answers after it was revealed this week that cladding on the unfinished Midland Metropolitan hospital is expected to be found to be unsafe.
The revelations have emerged 600 days after Carillion the principal contractor on the project went bust on 15 January 2018.
Unite is highly concerned that the concerns about the cladding have only just emerged. Similar concerns about the cladding on the Royal Liverpool hospitals emerged a year ago. Unite is further concerned that the cladding would have been installed after the tragic Grenfell fire on 14 June 2017.
If the hospital had become operational and the cladding had remained in place it would have placed both patients and staff at risk.
Unite regional officer Su Lowe, said: “The devil may care attitude of Carillion is beyond comprehension, apparently it was prepared to clad the Midland Metropolitan hospital in a dangerous material. Even after the tragic events of Grenfell it appears not to have thought it necessary to check, amend or remove the cladding on our new hospital.
“Questions also need to be raised about why the cladding wasn’t checked earlier, today (6 September) marks 600 days since Carillion’s collapse. By now we should have had our desperately needed hospital fully operational but instead we are still discovering serious flaws with the project. There needs to be an urgent investigation about who knew about concerns about the cladding and when.
“If senior managers of Carillion were aware of the issue and they chose to do nothing about it then the question needs to be asked if they were intentionally endangering the public, whether the law has been broken and what further action should be taken.
“Given the troubled history of this project, which is now not likely to be finished until 2022, it is essential the NHS trust is entirely transparent, so that when it does finally open patients and staff have confidence that they have a world class safe hospital.”