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Whittington Health versus Ryhurst: Protest planned as ditched contractor takes hospital trust to High Court

PUBLISHED: 08:00 11 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:54 13 November 2019

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

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

Steve Parsons/PA Archive

A controversial private contractor is taking the Whittington NHS trust to the High Court next month and it'll be met outside by a vociferous anti-privatisation protest.

Last June, amid pressure from campaign group Defend The Whittington Hospital Coalition (DWHC) and local MPs Jeremy Corbyn, Catherine West and Emily Thornberry, NHS bosses abandoned their procurement process, declaring they no longer needed a partner.

The preferred partner had already been named as Ryhurst, a subsidiary of Rydon which was involved in the refurbishment of the Grenfell Tower before the June 2017 fire. Ryhurst has been pursuing compensation since then.

The case is scheduled to come before the High Court on December 9, when campaigners are planning to hold a protest outside of the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand.

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Shirley Franklin, who leads the DWHC, said: "It's completely obscene Rydon has decided to do this.

"It's quite inexplicable they have got the nerve. The thought of them having money that should be going into our NHS is outrageous. We were obviously disgusted by the trust's decision to approve it [the contract] in the first place, and it all comes down to the hospital, and all other hospitals, being chronically underfunded."

Ryhust was announced as the preferred contractor three days before the Grenfell fire. The contract was supposed to last 10 years and it is thought Ryhurst could be seeking millions in compensation for the ditched "strategic estates partnership" deal.

The contractor sued Countess of Chester Hospital Foundation Trust and Wirral University Teaching Hospitals for £2m.

Whittington Health declined to comment while the case is active, but a spokesperson for Rydon said: "We are disappointed there has not been a resolution before this stage as we have always remained open to discussion with the trust."

The DWHC's planning meeting is on December 2 at 6pm in Archway Methodist Hall.

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