• Two “outstanding” foundation trusts have signed a contract with a Chinese real estate firm to build new hospitals
  • Northumbria Healthcare and the Christie have signed a deal with Rongqiao Group alongside Northumberland County Council and architects BDP 
  • The first phase will be working with the Chinese company to build a hospital and cancer centre in Fuzhou
  • But the NHS trusts believe the long term project could be worth millions of pounds which can be reinvested into frontline services

Two “outstanding” foundation trusts have signed a contract with a Chinese real estate company to advise it on building 10 new hospitals in a deal which could be worth millions for the NHS.

Northumbria Healthcare and the Christie FT have signed the contract for the first stage of a collaboration with the Rongqiao Group alongside Northumberland County Council and architects BDP.

HSJ understands the deal could be worth millions of pounds over 10 years, but Northumbria FT said it could not comment on the deal’s value due to commercial sensitivities.

The Rongqiao Group is looking to build 10 new hospitals in China and its UK partners, acting under the NHS Northumbria International Alliance, will act as advisors during the project which will include how to link up acute and community and social care as well as establishing specialist cancer services.

A spokesman said: “Due to the innovative nature of the contract and the highly competitive environment of international healthcare consultancy, we cannot go into specific details around value and cost. However, every penny made by the NHS or council will be reinvested back into frontline services.”

It aims to introduce joined up health and social care services in its country through investing £1bn to build the new state-of-the-art facilities.

In a statement issued today, Northumbria said the deal will see millions of pounds reinvested in patient care in the UK.

Trust chairman Alan Richardson said: “We are delighted that the contract for the first stage of our partnership has been signed and we can move forward with our plans to support our colleagues in China.

“Drawing on our vast experience of providing joined up health and social care for our patients and creating new ways of working to benefit our communities, we look forward to working with them to progress a true NHS partnership approach to international development.”

The Christie’s chief executive Roger Spencer said his trust was fully committed to establishing “world leading” cancer services in China.

He added: “As an international comprehensive cancer centre, our ambition is to be the partner of choice in offering specialist cancer expertise to support the development of the highest quality cancer care in China.”

The first stage will see the UK partners supporting the Rongqiao Group to build a “world class multispecialty hospital” with a cancer centre of excellence in Fuzhou, the capital of the Fujian Province in south eastern China.

The group has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Northumbria for its next project to develop a 500 bed cancer hospital and community and older people care services in Chongqing, south west China’s commercial capital.

Jared Djuhar, director of Rongqiao Group, said the partnership was a “major” step towards improving medical care in China.

He added: “Northumbria’s successful experience in integrated care in the UK brings the best of the NHS to our project.

“Its expertise in patient centred care, in workforce optimisation and in lean health and care delivery is immensely valuable to our collaboration.

“Both Northumbria and the Christie are rated as ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission and we look forward to progressing our work with them.”