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St Helens & Knowsley Hospitals: SPV Management

Vercity provides the Management Service Agreement (MSA) services on the St Helens & Knowsley (NewHospitals) project. The NHS Trust client received an Outstanding CQC overall rating in 2018 and was named ‘Trust of the Year’ in 2019 by the Health Service Journal.



Key Stakeholders

St Helens & Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Original Investment Value

£338m (Original construction cost)

The project

This project is a private finance initiative (PFI) agreement between NewHospitals (St Helens & Knowsley) Limited and the St Helens and Knowsley Hospital Services NHS Trust. The 40-year agreement covers the development of the Whiston and St Helens Hospital sites and the provision of maintenance and facilities services. The scheme is a mix of new and refurbished buildings. Construction started in 2006 on both sites and the advanced works were completed ahead of schedule, which included the multi-storey car park, temporary energy centre, north and south site sub stations and the PABX. Vercity delivers the management service agreement (MSA) for the project.


Whiston Hospital is an acute hospital and has been in a steady management phase since completion in 2010. The hospital has been specifically designed with one centralised building, consisting of 6 colour-coded floor levels. The Nightingale House Refurbishment Building was completed in 2011 and all external works were completed in 2013. St Helens was originally planned as a 24-hour, 20 bed overnight stay facility but now operates as a comprehensive Diagnostic & Treatment Centre (DTC). In developing bespoke action plans, Vercity ensures the FM providers meet their contractual and legislative obligations. Our audit process provides expert insight into service regimes, with a view to analysing actual performance delivery against contract requirements.

Fundraiser at Whiston Hospital, Prescot, Merseyside, England
Whiston Hospital, Prescot, Merseyside, England
Whiston Hospital, Prescot, Merseyside, England
New Hospitals


Vinci Facilities provides non-clinical hard facilities management (FM) for the full term of the agreement, which includes overseeing the estate maintenance, helpdesk, grounds and gardens, pest control, waste management and utilities management. Medirest provides the cleaning, linen and laundry, catering, portering, security and car park management services. Medirest’s contract was extended by negotiation in 2013 until 2018, and then again until 2028. GE Healthcare procures, maintains and replaces radiology and theatre equipment under the MES contract that will continue until 2028. By implementing effective processes and procedures, Vercity helps NewHospitals deliver better financial returns and influences effective decision making. We take the time to understand asset costs and analyse budgets, so the client benefits from cost certainty over the life of the project.

The result

Vercity’s operations management enables the Trust to provide a full range of acute services through its A&E department, Specialist Burns & Plastics Centre, cancer services and operating theatres. The DTC at St Helens, which is one of the largest in the country, focuses on outpatient facilities and clinic appointments. Our Vercity team, the Trust and service providers undertake joint working to ensure that the standards remain high. This includes joint monitoring, walking the floor and regular communications with all parties. The cladding of the external facade at Whiston Hospital required replacement in 2014, which although challenging, was achieved successfully with collaborative working. Both hospitals are regular winners of the North West in Bloom Awards and have achieved the status of Best in the NHS from the Patient Led Assessment of the Care Environment 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Project impact

The Trust achieved top marks in the country for areas including cleanliness, food, privacy and dignity, facilities for patients living with dementia and disabilities and condition appearance. The Hospital received an Outstanding CQC overall rating in 2018 and was named Trust of the year in 2019 by the Health Service Journal.

Environmental Social Governance

The NewHospitals project has participated in numerous ESG initiatives, including the Trust Annual Awards, Trust Abseil and Trust Charity, where NewHospitals assisted in manning stalls and coordinating activities. It also coordinated with local schools to assemble PPE face masks for the hospital during the Covid pandemic.   

‘‘The Trust has an excellent working relationship with all its PFI partners. This was seen through the design and construction phases of the project and has continued as the two hospitals became operational.  As services have expanded and changed, we have worked together to ensure that the hospital and FM services remain fit for purpose and provide a high-quality patient and staff experience.  The Trust is very proud to receive positive feedback from our patients about the environment in which they are cared for and this is reflected in our consistently excellent PLACE scores and the Trust being rated as outstanding by the Care Quality Commission.  These achievements belong to our PFI partners as much as to ourselves and we know that they share the same sense of pride in the services they deliver.  During 2020 the teamwork and collaboration between the partners has really been evident as the whole Trust team has pulled together to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.’’

Nicola Bunce
Director of Corporate Services & Dyan Clegg, Deputy Director Estates and Facilities

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