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Purley Hospital

Volume 453: debated on Tuesday 28 November 2006

Although this is a matter for the local NHS, I am advised that NHS London’s timetable is currently dependent on the developers finalising their own plans for the site.

The key point in that reply is that the matter is in the hands of the developers. The Government made a pledge about the hospital nine years ago, which was repeated at the Dispatch Box five years ago, yet we still do not have a firm date, because the project is in the hands of the developers, who are now in some difficulty. Does the Minister agree that this is a classic example of how not to run a public-private partnership for building a new hospital?

I can certainly understand the hon. Gentleman’s frustration about the considerable time it has taken to get the project started, particularly as it will bring in £9 million-worth of new investment and bring together acute and community care services, as well as mental health services and a minor injuries unit. I understand his frustration. In February a contract was signed with the developer, and the detail was signed off earlier this month. I know that the hon. Gentleman met the new chief executive of the trust, Helen Walley—on Friday, I think—and I hope that gave him some confidence that the project is now moving forward. I met Helen Walley yesterday, and she is very keen to take it forward. She assured me that she would keep in touch with the hon. Gentleman about his concerns to reassure him that the project is moving forward.