The BBC’s new TV series Hospital which begins tomorrow (Thursday 10 January), shines a light on the impact of Carillion’s collapse on patients and the government should spare no effort in getting the hospital built and operational as soon as possible, says Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union.

Tomorrow’s programme will focus on the Royal Liverpool hospital which is 40 years old and no longer fit for purpose, comprising patient care and creating severe strain on already overworked staff. Hospital highlights floods at the Royal and other major infrastructure problems, directly affecting patient care.

Due to open March 2017

A new state of the art Royal hospital was due to have opened in March 2017, the £325 million project was being built by Carillion and was nearly a year late and 85 per cent complete, when the company collapsed into compulsory liquidation in January 2018.

A year later, not only has work not yet restarted on the project, but major structural problems have been identified. The load bearing beams contain major cracks and it was also discovered that the cladding on the hospital is a fire risk. It is expected that it will cost in excess of £100 million to complete the hospital and it will not be operational until 2020, three years late.

Human misery

Unite regional secretary for the North West Ritchie James said: “Hospital is exposing the human misery directly caused by repeated government failures.

“The government allowed Carillion’s appointment, failed to monitor the project and when Carillion collapsed, they failed to ensure that there was no delay in completing the work.

“As a result of the government being asleep at the wheel, patients are facing being treated for over three years in a hospital that is no longer capable of meeting their needs.

“Our members working at the Royal are being forced to work in impossible conditions and are still somehow providing exemplary care to patients.”

Laing O’Rourke has been appointed to complete the construction work and Unite is campaigning to ensure that the workers engaged on the project are directly employed (not bogusly self-employed), are not placed on exploitative contracts such as operating via an umbrella company, unions are given proper access to the workforce, workers are safe and the building is structurally sound.

Mr James added: “It would be a travesty if the Royal was completed on the backs of workers who are being forced to operate on exploitative contacts and denied access to unions.

“Unite is in the process of stepping up our campaign with the NHS Trust and Laing O’Rourke to ensure that construction workers are treated fairly, safely and not exploited when work resumes on the Royal.”

Last month Unite released a major report Ending Bandit Capitalism: Learning the lessons following Carillion’s collapse which is a blueprint of what the government needs to do in order to prevent future corporate collapses.


Notes to editors:

Laing O’Rourke appointment must not result in worker exploitation

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.


Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.