Ward Hadaway helps on multi-million pound healthcare projects | 26 June 08

LAW firm Ward Hadaway is helping to improve healthcare facilities for thousands of people in County Durham after advising on two new multi-million pound developments.

The Newcastle-based firm acted for Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust and County Durham Primary Care Trust on their plans for an £18m mental health hospital in Durham City and a £12m primary care centre in Stanley.

Contracts have now been signed on the developments and construction work is expected to get under way this month (June).

Ward Hadaway advised both Trusts on the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) projects, which will see the health bodies working with private sector partner Grosvenor House Group.

Melanie Pears, head of public sector at Ward Hadaway, said: “We are delighted to have helped Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust and County Durham Primary Care Trust to achieve financial close on these very important developments.

“These schemes were ground-breaking in a number of different ways and will make a real difference to the people who use them over the coming years.”

Lanchester Road Hospital will be built on the Earls House Hospital site on the outskirts of Durham and will replace adult acute inpatient facilities at Durham’s County Hospital and the Derwent Clinic in Shotley Bridge.

The 76-bed unit will provide adult mental health and learning disability services and is due to be completed by October 2009.

The Stanley Primary Care Centre will bring together a range of different services under one roof, including community, children’s and young people’s services, outpatient and diagnostic clinics and voluntary services.

The £12m development will replace current facilities with state of the art facilities and is due to be completed by August 2009.

Melanie Pears said the schemes break new ground in the healthcare sector in a number of different ways.

She explained: “They were the first PFI health schemes to offer such a high level of detail in terms of the designs which the Trusts showed to potential private sector partners. Whilst leaving space for innovation, this allowed for greater cost certainty on the part of the Trusts.

“We also had two different projects running at the same time, which made it more attractive to the private sector since it allows scope for greater efficiencies in build and operational time.

“It is also unusual because you have two different and distinct NHS organisations – one a specialist mental health body the other a community and primary care commissioner – working on two developments as one project which will deliver much improved facilities and genuine value for money for the public purse.”

Chris Parsons, Joint PFI Procurement Project Director at Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust, said: “The Trust is delighted to have achieved this major milestone in the modernisation of mental health services for the people of Durham and Teesdale.

“We have very much appreciated the support and guidance from Ward Hadaway which has helped us to deliver a ground-breaking scheme in close partnership with the local Primary Care Trust.”

Yasmin Chaudhry, chief executive at County Durham Primary Care Trust, said: "The PCT is delighted to have completed the negotiations with Grosvenor House Group and to have reached commercial and financial close.

“The new primary care centre is an exciting scheme for the people of Stanley and for the PCT and we hope it will set the standards for other such schemes in the area.”

Ward Hadaway is advising on more than £2bn worth of development projects in the public sector, including a planned £416m new hospital for North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust.

The firm also represents more than 50 different NHS clients across the country.