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Ryhurst 'to sue Whittington Hospital' after estates deal with Grenfell-linked contractor is axed

PUBLISHED: 09:36 30 August 2018 | UPDATED: 09:06 31 August 2018

The Whittington Hospital in Archway. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Archive

The Whittington Hospital in Archway. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Archive

PA Archive/PA Images

Contractor Ryhurst is suing the Whittington Hospital over its decision to abandon a controversial regeneration deal.

In June, Whittington Health NHS Trust said it was pulling out of the deal with the company, part of the Grenfell-linked Rydon group, after campaigners – including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – called on it to do so.

Whittington Health, which runs the Archway hospital, has now confirmed Ryhurst is taking legal action.

A spokesperson told this newspaper: “The procurement process is now subject to legal challenge.”

Ryhurst’s parent company Rydon was the contractor charged with refurbishing Grenfell Tower in 2016.

In June, Whittington Health said it had decided to pull out of the deal because it no longer needed to enter into a “strategic estates partnership” with a private provider.

It said: “The improved finances, coupled with strengthened relationships with other public sector organisations, means that the trust is now in a stronger position to develop comprehensive plans for its estate in-house.”

Campaigners had been pressuring Whittington Health to quit the proposed 10-year contract. Shirley Franklin, who leads the Defend the Whittington Coalition, told this newspaper: “It’s just apalling to see a private company like Rydon try to take money out of the NHS. It’s disgusting.

“The management have to take the blame too, going on with the contract and all the timewasting before June will have added to the bill. We were telling them to cancel the contract and we were right all along.”

“We’ve always said if this [legal action] was to take place we’d take to the streets again, so yes, I’m sure we’ll take action of some sort.”

The possible consequences for Whittington Health could spiral into the millions. A similar case involving Countess of Chester Hospital Foundation Trust and Wirral University Teaching Hospitals saw Ryhurst seeking £2million in compensation.

Whittington Health will make no further comment whilst the case is ongoing.

When asked about their reasons for taking action, a spokesperson for Ryhurst said: “We continue to be open to discussion with the trust.”

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