Local residents brought a hugely important issue to our attention in 2018 - the Midland Metropolitan hospital, which stood only two thirds complete in Smethwick near Birmingham. Construction started in January 2016 but ground to a halt early in 2018 after the financial collapse of Carillion. The hospital was due to open in spring 2019 at a cost of £350 million. Significant strain was placed on the existing Birmingham City and Sandwell General hospitals as a result of the delays.
We launched a targeted local campaign to raise awareness in the local media and local residents. We called on the government to re-tender the contract as quickly as possible. The longer the delays to the project, the greater the costs to the residents of the West Midlands, both financially and in terms of medical services. In May, we had an action day at the hospital site and drove ad vans around Smethwick which stated problems loud and clear. You can watch Grassroots Campaign Manager, Harry Fone, discussing the problem here.
Our campaign received coverage in local and national press, most notably on Radio 4’s The World At One programme following our visit to the construction site in May.You can watch us on BBC Midlands discussing the hospital.
Despite our campaigning and outrage from local residents, the hospital will now not be opened until at least summer 2022, with total build costs reaching at least £988 million. Delays have sent costs soaring by more than £300 million according to a January 2020 National Audit Office report.