New cancer unit faces further delay

Darren Grayson Chief Executive Officer East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust. May 17th 2011 E20064M ENGSNL00120110517161245
Darren Grayson Chief Executive Officer East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust. May 17th 2011 E20064M ENGSNL00120110517161245

Work on the new Pevensey Unit faces further delays after a shortfall in funding.

Preliminary works have already taken place and building work was due to start on the new specialist cancer ward at the end of October.

But the trust which runs the hospital announced this week the final price for the project has bust the money the trust had put aside – so work has ground to a halt.

The difference between the two is said to be “substantial”. It is a bitter blow to fundraisers and hospital bosses who have been working on the Pevensey Unit project for many years.

Trust chief executive Darren Grayson said, “It is deeply frustrating and very disappointing to get to this late stage and not be able to commence building work. The development of a new Pevensey Unit is a priority for the trust and we are totally committed to this project, but given the substantial extra costs involved we cannot start the building work.

“We have informed the Friends of Eastbourne Hospital, which is making a contribution to the project, of this disappointing delay to the start of building work. Have no doubt the trust will ensure the project goes ahead, despite this delay.”

Mr Grayson said that given the professional advice the trust received, it had no reason to believe its budget for the project was unrealistic.

He said, “We need to ensure value for money is obtained and therefore building work cannot commence as planned. We need to work with contractors and quantity surveyors to agree a build cost that is closer to our original budget.”

Hospital executives are remaining tight lipped over the difference between the trust’s budget and the guaranteed maximum price of the works but described it as substantial. Fundraisers and campaigners have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to help build the new Pevensey Unit.