Public Sector – Guys hospital knocked by NAO

The National Audit Office has lashed out at the failings of a joint public and private-sector project which ran far in excess of its budget, writes Lawrie Holmes.

In his report to parliament, NAO chief Sir John Bourn said the #151.8m work at Guys hospital in south London cost #68.7m more than budgeted and ran 22 months late.

The problems were mainly attributed to delays from disputes between Guys & St Thomas’ hospital trust and the construction companies.

The report did not apportion responsibility as litigation is ongoing.

But Bourn said charitable and other sources failed to match spiralling public-sector contributions as costs increased. This led to a funding gap of almost #26.8m, which has been financed by temporary borrowing from the National Health Service.

Bourn welcomed steps taken by the NHS Executive but said it ‘should remind health authorities and NHS Trusts of the need to clearly define responsibilities, including a single client’. He called for ‘complete and realistic costings’ and ‘secured full funding from established funding sources’.

Guys chief executive Tim Matthews said many lessons identified by the NAO were being applied to new projects.

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