£60m-a-year contract thrown into doubt

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The latest problems with Consort will increase pressure for its contract with NHS Lothian to be scrapped.

Repeated problems caused by the private company have seen health bosses urged to take the maintenance contract for the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary back in-house.

Under the PFI deal, NHS Lothian currently pays Consort £60 million a year for maintenance of the hospital and by 2028 will have handed over £1.26 billion.

But Consort has faced repeated criticism for failures at the flagship facility, and Lothians MSP Sarah Boyack has raised a string of problems at the ERI with Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon at Holyrood.

The Health Secretary, left, has been kept fully briefed on the recent failures by the provider.

Earlier this year she backed NHS Lothian’s move to seek legal advice over the contract – to see if it was possible to cancel or renegotiate the deal – in light of the failures by Consort.

She said: “It is unacceptable that this company, which is paid vast amounts of public money, is not performing to the standard expected of it.

“NHS Lothian has signalled they are going to consult their lawyers and I think they are right to do that.”