Havering’s NHS spent �100ks running half-empty hospital

�Havering’s health service has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds running a hospital that is half empty, figures reveal.

Barking Hospital amassed a �75,918 bill for cleaning, heating and electricity and spent nearly �190,000 on security last year, according to Freedom of Information data.

The Upney Lane hospital was completed in March and achieved a 50 per cent occupancy last month.

Its maternity unit, which will allow for 600 deliveries each year and take some of the pressure of Romford’s Queen’s Hospital, is not expected to open before April.

‘Phased’


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The community hospital has suffered delays for two years and its budget soared from �8million to �12m.

NHS Outer North East London, which run services in Havering, Barking and Dagenham, Waltham Forest, and Rebridge, was unable to say when the hospital would be fully open, saying it depended on negotiations with GPs.

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A spokesman said: “Spend on security was �189,940, the site only being part occupied meant higher cost. The construction was completed in March 2011, some five months later than expected.

“The take-up of occupancy was always expected to be phased as new services need to be tendered.

“We are currently in discussion with GPs and others to ensure that any further services provided at the hospital best meet the needs of the local community which it serves.”

The health trust said it expected to achieve an 88 per cent occupancy rate when its four-bed maternity unit is unveiled.

The urgent treatment centre and outpatients’ department should be open in mid-February, the FoI request revealed.

Mental and sexual health services are already running and an eye service run by Moorfields Hospital opened last month.

Margaret Hodge, chairman of government spending watchdog, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, criticised the NHS for wasting taxpayers’ money.

The MP for Barking said: “It’s an absolute disgrace that the hospital has been standing half-empty for nearly a year.

“We need those services and we need them now, particularly with everything that’s going on at Queen’s Hospital. The managers in the NHS have failed to deliver the services on time and it’s costing us hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

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