A row over rebuilding an NHS hospital so it has only single rooms is holding up badly needed improvements to assist nursing staff, a trust chief executive has said.
A judicial review application to stop the rebuild of the Royal Liverpool University Hospital using private investment has cost the trust £8m in delays already.
The application, brought by the Keep Our NHS Public group, states the £450m private finance initiative project fails to ensure value for money.
A hearing in August last year ruled there was no case for a judicial review and the trust said yesterday it had been informed that legal aid funding had been withdrawn for the review claim. However an appeal against the hearing decision is still due to take place on 11 February.
Tony Bell, chief executive of the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals Foundation Trust, told Nursing Times that the existing hospital was designed in the 1960s and the technology used by nursing staff now requires an “entirely different approach”.
The new wards, which will consist solely of single rooms, “gives nurses more flexibility” and the opportunity to have confidential dialogue with patients.
Mr Bell added: “We are cautiously optimistic that the previous ruling of Mr Justice Burnett will be upheld in the forthcoming hearing, still to take place on February 11. The legal challenge so far has proved both costly and time-consuming and we are hopeful that we shall soon be able to move forward with our bidders on our plans to build the new Royal.”
Keep Our NHS Public member Sam Semoff said the costs of servicing the PFI debt would be around £500m and the costs of the delays would be a small price to pay to stop the project.