PFI projects get go-ahead28th February 2007
The government has approved seven Private Finance Initiative (PFI) hospitals worth almost £1.5bn.
It comes as the Department of Health continues its efforts to shave up to £5bn off the £12bn programme in response to NHS reforms which includes payment by results.
The seven schemes now approved have had around £250m trimmed off their original value. The decision has come six months later than expected, prompting frustration among PFI contractors.
The projects include one in Peterborough, a rebuild in North Bristol, and a smaller project in the north-east, which were all approved unchanged. A further two underwent minor revisions. Major savings have been made in two further projects: one in Maidstone has been cut back from £269m to £218m and another in Mid-Essex is down from £199m to £143m.
A review of more than 20 other schemes worth around 5.5bn looks set to continue into the autumn, almost two years on from when it was announced.
The government said it has exceeded its target to build 100 new hospitals, although few have been total rebuilds. Critics say the new facilities will cost the taxpayer more because they were achieved through PFI.
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