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Health bids bust budget

CONTRACTS - BELFAST

THE TRUST behind a £45 million health deal in Northern Ireland has been forced into a rethink after bidders failed to meet its budget.

The six local firms bidding the Belfast project claimed they were unable to match the price set for the first phase of the scheme, a £10 million maternity unit and £4.5 million renal unit.

Gilbert Ash, Tracey Brothers, McLaughlin & Harvey, Farrans, Pattons and a joint venture between Graham Construction and H&J Martin will submit revised bids next week after Ulster Hospitals and Community Health and Social Services Trust reduced the project's scope.

A source at the Trust said: 'We had a cost review session a week ago and we have made some amendments and opened up the specification.' A decision on a preferred contractor is expected next month.