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Government approves first NHS infrastructure scheme of its kind with help from Ward Hadaway

Reaching a milestone in any major new development is always a big moment, and we were delighted to see ground broken on a transformative £169m construction project for Luton and Dunstable University Hospital, after two years of intensive work to secure business case approval from central Government.

The project will deliver modern, enhanced maternity services. a neonatal intensive care unit, critical care and speciality theatres.

£90m of the investment is being facilitated through a new £4billion Department of Health initiative, which promises to deliver 40 new hospitals and 70 hospital upgrades by 2030.

The Luton and Dunstable University Hospital is the first in the country to access the funding and is the only scheme yet to achieve full business case approval and start on site.

Spades in the ground on the new project this January was the culmination of work by many partners and stakeholders. Our collaborative and flexible approach to preparing the business case and procurement process for this complex build for Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust ensures the new hospital is delivered to the highest of standards, with maximum return on investment for taxpayers.

It required tenacity, diligence and collaboration all round and sets the benchmark for other new hospitals.

Due to the nature of the project and the limited timescale to achieve the outcome, it was necessary for the Trust to run a number of procurements simultaneously which added to the complexity of the overall scheme.

This ground-breaking project required a tailored approach. Our specialist team – led by public sector procurement specialist and partner, Melanie Pears,  provided a flexible, timely, integrated approach so that the scheme could start on site in accordance with the Trust’s overall programme.

Speaking about the project, David Hartshorne from Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said; “The Ward Hadaway team have played a key role in getting us to where we are now.  You have fitted into the team really well and have given us good and pragmatic advice along the way.  I have worked with a number of legal firms over the years.  My experience is that progress is made when there is a real understanding – both ways – of the issues and context.  You and your team have provided this, so very many thanks for your contribution.”

The Trust ran a number of parallel processes to achieve this ground-breaking approval, including appointing a design team to design the new facilities to RIBA stage 3; appointing cost consultants to price up the solutions; assessing routes to market; running a competition for the new build works; the design of a bespoke series of contracts for the works; the commencement of enabling works on site.

The various procurement exercises were carried out in parallel with the progression of the  business case approval process under the Government’s new hospital initiative.

A project of this nature has many facets and we provided a skilled multi-disciplinary team to deliver analysis of the procurement options, taking into account a range of factors including Covid, Brexit, inflation and shortages of labour and materials. We also oversaw the appointment and collateral warranties from the design team; revisions and adjustments to the contract and procurement process; reports to the Trust Board and collaborative and integrated working with all stakeholders.

We believe that our work on this scheme demonstrates a timely, practical, adaptable and hands-on approach, as well as innovative and creative thinking regarding best practice in the current environment and the unique challenges faced including Covid and Brexit.

Our team of experts continues to support the Trust on a range of other projects.

Works began on site in January 2022 and are due to be completed in 2024.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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