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Jeremy Corbyn: ‘Appalling that a firm should sue our NHS’

Construction firm is taking legal action against the Whittington Hospital over deal for NHS-owned estate

15 November, 2019 — By Emily Finch

The Whittington Hospital

JEREMY Corbyn has criticised what he says is an “appalling” move by a construction firm to take the Whittington Hospital to court.

The Labour leader was speaking after anti-priva­tisation campaigners Defend the Whittington Coalition announced they would hold a mass rally outside the Royal Courts of Justice next month to protest against Ryhurst’s decision to try and sue the hospital.

The Whittington board had decided on Ryhurst as its preferred bidder for their major re-organisa­tion of its NHS-owned estate.

But hospital chiefs pulled out of the deal a year later because of what they said were “improved finances coupled with streng­thened relationships with other public sector organisations”.

This unfolded against the backdrop of demon­strations against the use of Ryhurst, which is a subsidiary of Rydon, a company that worked on the cladding of Grenfell Tower in west London before the devastating fire there in 2017.

Jeremy Corbyn: ‘This sums up the broken and rigged system under the Tories’ 

The company has always strenuously denied any culpability and said that its building work has always met government regulations.

It has not been found responsible for any wrongdoing.

Ryhurst decided to take the Whittington to court after the deal was cancelled with court proceedings due to begin on December 9.

Mr Corbyn said yesterday (Thursday): “This sums up the broken and rigged system under the Tories. It is appalling that any company should decide to sue our National Health Service, never mind a company that made a profit from cladding Grenfell Tower.”

He added: “Our NHS should not be being sold off to private companies who then sue it, lining the pockets of bosses and shareholders at the expense of the public.

“Labour will put public health before private wealth, end NHS privatisation and ensure that our public services are run for people, not profit.”

A Ryhurst spokeswoman said: “We are disappointed there has not been a resolution before this stage as we have always remained open to discussion with the Trust.”

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