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Northern Irish duo beat major names to £85m health contract

A joint venture of Northern Irish firms Farrans and Heron Brothers has beaten several major contractors to win an £85 million deal to build five mental health facilities on Merseyside.

The JV beat off competition from four other bidders to land the Mersey Care Development Programme for Mersey Care NHS Trust and Liverpool and Sefton Health Partnership.

Kier and Galliford Try are both understood to have lost out on the deal, which will run for four years with a possible one-year extension.

Morgan Sindall and Vinci are also thought to have returned tenders for the work, thought to be worth between £75m and £85m.

A Farrans source said: “We are very pleased to win as there were some major contractors bidding and this is a slightly new venture for us. In England we mainly work in civils and education. Our healthcare work has focused in Ireland but we are now looking to do more work in England due to the economic conditions.”

Known as TIME - To Improve Mental health Environments - the programme will deliver five facilities in a phased approach.

The first phase includes two facilities in Liverpool, to be located on Rice Lane and Edge Lane, housing about 70 inpatient beds on each site. It is expected that these beds will be used by adult, older adult and learning disability users with the ability to use beds flexibly over a period of years.

The facilities are to be located in residential areas and will be domestic in scale to reduce the stigma attached to mental health.

The exemplar design includes individual bedrooms with en suite facilities; activity and quiet spaces on and off the ward; clinical treatment and therapeutic areas; appropriate decoration, artwork and fittings; family and visitor friendly areas; disabled facilities and easily accessible outdoor spaces; and learning and office accommodation.

The first two hospitals will be worth about £20m each, with the final three to be worth a total of approximately £35m.

The final three sites will be at Sefton Health Park and Mossley Hill Hospital in Liverpool, and at Southport General Infirmary.

Healthcare projects Farrans has worked on in Northern Ireland include the Knockbreda Centre in Belfast.