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Feature NHS Privatisation

Carillion’s toll on NHS

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 22 January 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k298

This article has a correction. Please see:

  1. Nigel Hawkes, freelance journalist
  1. London, UK
  1. nigel.hawkes1{at}

What next for NHS trusts that depended on the liquidated contractor for construction and service provision? Nigel Hawkes reports

The collapse of the contractor Carillion has rekindled anxiety about the tentacles of private companies reaching deep into public services, including the NHS. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says that such companies should be “shown the door.” Countering this view will be a test for the government and for private enterprise.

Carillion foundered after four projects—two of them hospitals for the NHS—went sour at the same time. In July 2017 the company was forced to announce that contracts had been written down to the value of £845m (€960m; $1170m), half of which was accounted for by these four projects. It was “a perfect storm,” the company told analysts.

For the NHS the most important question is the future of the two hospitals being built by Carillion: Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen (a £335m project that is nearly complete) and Midland Metropolitan in Smethwick, West Midlands …

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