A new £270m PFI hospital in Enniskillen has been signed-off and construction will begin shortly, following months of difficulties in getting funding finalised. Problems had been caused when HSBC withdrew from a consortium of funders.
The contract was awarded to the Northern Ireland Health Group consortium, comprising FCC Construction SA, Allied Irish Bank Plc., Interserve Investments & P Elliott & Co. Half the funding for the project is coming from the EU’s European Investment Bank, with the rest coming from NordLB, Bank of Ireland and Barclays.
Northern Ireland health minister Michael McGimpsey said that work on the project will begin on site “immediately”. He added: “Considering the complexities associated with this process and the ongoing economic difficulties, it is extremely satisfying to see the efforts of everyone involved coming to this key stage.
“With the current economic climate and the downturn in the construction industry, it is important to note that this project will provide 850 jobs, of which 180 will be new jobs, during the construction of the hospital. The creation of new jobs is a significant boost for the local economy particularly when so many people are losing their jobs.”
Gerard Guckian, chairman of the Western Health and Social Care Trust said: “We have reached the end of long and complex process and now look forward, with great anticipation, to seeing the new hospital take shape.”
The hospital will serve the South West region of Northern Ireland, containing acute services, including A&E, major and emergency surgery, maternity services and day case surgery. The project is backed by a social and economic regeneration plan for the Enniskillen area, which specifies that it should create employment opportunities for local people. It is due for completion by 2012.