THE Western Trust has strongly refuted reports elsewhere claiming that they have incurred financial penalties with regard to the running of the South West Acute Hospital (SWAH) in Enniskillen.
It had been reported that the Trust were held liable for failing to meet contractual obligations to a private sector company, Mitie FM Ltd.
However, a statement released by the Western Trust, insists they are not liable for these penalties and that Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract providers, the Northern Ireland Health Group (NIHG) are responsible for any financial penalties incurred.
A Western trust spokeswoman said: “The Western Trust does not pay financial penalties.
“The penalties are paid by the contracted PFI provider, NIHG when agreed Service Level Agreements/Performance Standards that were built into the PFI contract are not met.
“For example, if a piece of equipment such as an endoscopy washer is broken and the Trust is unable to use it, then the Trust would issue a penalty to the contractor.
“Like all PFI contracts, the South West Acute Hospital PFI Contract has an extensive performance specification and a penalties regime which was agreed at the outset.”
The Western Trust also stated reports from elsewhere that stated the cost owed by them for the building of the SWAH did not make clear that the total sum included additional costs that help with the functioning of the hospital.
“The PFI contract covers both the construction costs of building of the South West Acute Hospital and the additional costs associated with PFI contract,” added the Trust’s spokesperson.
“These include payment for services, whole life costs (such as specialist medical equipment, maintenance and operating service costs).
Services included within the unitary charge are estates services, energy & utilities, grounds and gardens and helpdesk.
“The total cost stated elsewhere covers both the building of the hospital and associated services provided by NIHG over the 30 year contract period.
“The Western Trust pays the PFI contractor from funding that was secured centrally from Department of Health. The PFI contract for the South West Acute Hospital does not impact on the Trust’s ability to fund other services.
“Following a process that was approved by the Department of Health and the then Health & Social Care Board (HSCB), this funding has been made available to the Trust for the delivery of this acute hospital facility.”
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