“This is the chance to create something truly world class. We’ll bring together education, health care providers, university research and industry. Not many places will be able to do this,” he said.
Rumours swirl around over a possible merger with Aintree Hospital Trust, but he gives this short shrift.
“The merger discussion is missing the point. It’s about how we work together to develop and deliver the best care, such as in areas like pathology,” he said.
The project, which will be funded under a Private Finance Initiative (PFI), has been criticised as saddling the trust with years of debt.
“Yes, some of the funding is PFI, but we’re trying to reduce that element with the Department’s help (which means less unitary payments) and the European Investment Fund,” he said.
“But PFI is the way you have to fund these big projects now. That’s all part of the process. It’s the world we live in.
“My absolute priority is to get the best for the city. There is also the knock-on effect of regeneration for the city.”
This has been calculated to be around £60m a year. However, to make the numbers work will the Royal see its services contracted out to private companies to run?
“I am an NHS person and I want to drive the NHS forward. For example, this Trust has a great reputation, but we’re keen to push forward with higher standards,” he said.
“We have to provide value for money to taxpayers by saying ‘let’s make the NHS as efficient and productive as we can’.
“There’s nothing I look at in the private sector and think ‘they can do it better than us’.
“Yet the NHS has seen growth of three to four per cent per annum and over the next six years we will see no growth. That means we have to strive to deliver quality services right first time.
“We have to learn how to speed up the diagnostic process. Our experts are looking at new initiatives and the NHS can do that better than anybody.
“I don’t see any privatising of services here. My first goal is to ensure that we do it all in the NHS, but there may come a point where I’ve got to look at what others provide.
“You can never say never as our responsibility is to the taxpayer – the people who fund us.
“The NHS is so important to us which is why there’s so much politics about it. It’s a good thing people talk about it. You get top-class treatment no matter how rich or poor you are.
“It’s one of this country’s greatest achievements.”