Peterborough City Hospital withholds £1.4m payment over fire scare

Peterborough City Hospital, Bretton. Photo: Peterborough Telegraph
Peterborough City Hospital, Bretton. Photo: Peterborough Telegraph

Bosses of Peterborough City Hospital have refused to pay £1.4 million to their PFI provider in a row over fire safety standards at the four-year-old building.

The action comes after the problems came to light late last year when checks revealed issues with the ceiling voids.

Health chiefs at the £289 million hospital, which opened in November 2010, are concerned the voids might not comply with standards designed to stop the spread of smoke and flames.

Now the Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, has told Peterborough (Progress Health) it has withheld £1,441,496 from the payment of £3,847,878 which had been due last month.

They have warned that future payments may also be withheld.

The trust claims the issue with the ceiling voids means its site at Bretton has effectively been “unavailable” and it will not pay the entire amount due on the private finance initiative (PFI) loan that was used to build the hospital.

The details are set out in a notice to the London Stock Exchange from Peterborough (Progress Health), which disputes the trust’s claims and says it is taking legal advice.

Stephen Graves, the trust’s chief executive, said: “In November 2014, following a review of the fire safety standards to which our hospital has been built, we learned of some issues with the infrastructure.

“As a result the trust withheld a portion of its PFI payment based on an ‘unavailability’ clause in our agreement.

“We are working with Progress Health, which has responsibility for maintaining the hospital building, to resolve any issues, along with the fire service which is providing advice and support.

Mr Graves added: “I can reassure patients we will remain vigilant to ensure fire safety standards are maintained at all times.”

A spokeswoman for Peterborough (Progress Health) did not respond to a request to comment on the issue.

Related:

Investigation under way into fire safety at Peterborough City Hospital