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North London Trust abandons SEP plans

Whittington Health NHS Trust has announced it is to abandon its procurement for a Strategic Estates Partnership (SEP) following improvements in its financial position.


Ryhurst was confirmed as the preferred bidder for the SEP late last year, a decision that was the subject of local criticism as soon as it was announced as a result of the association of Ryhurst's parent company - Rydon Group - with Grenfell Tower. Rydon was responsible for refurbishment work at Grenfell Tower in 2016.


Whittington Health NHS Trust confirms it is now to start work on its own plans to improve its estate and transform the way it delivers care to patients. 


In a statement, the Trust says its improved finances, coupled with strengthened relationships with other public sector organisations, means that it is now in a stronger position to develop comprehensive plans for its estate in-house. As a result, it is no longer necessary to bring in external commercial expertise by entering into a Strategic Estates Partnership.


Instead, the Trust will now move forward with plans to bring in a range of experts, including architects, planners and technical consultants, to start the process of developing a comprehensive plan for its estate and minimise any further delay to improving that estate for the local population.


The latest Board minutes (June 27, 2018), record that 2018/19 will see the Board "undertake a master planning exercise" that will facilitate a holistic view of the estate across both Haringey and Islington.


It is believed that if the estate is developed over the next 10 years "in a joined-up way," this work can be "self-funding." 


The backlog maintenance needed to bring the existing buildings up to standard is in the region of £23 million. 


There is now speculation as to whether legal action will follow.