30 July 2004
The NHS Confederation has called for the Private Finance Initiative to be simplified and made more flexible after the announcement of further multibillion pound developments under the scheme.
Health Secretary John Reid gave the green light to 15 hospital developments worth £4bn on July 27, most of which will be funded through the PFI.
Confederation chief executive Gill Morgan said this was a welcome boost for NHS infrastructure but insisted on a more efficient PFI regime. The PFI should be more flexible to allow for changes in health care, such as new technologies. She said that red tape and legal costs should be reduced by cutting the number of project reviews and overhauling the bidding process.
'The reforms we are recommending are designed to gain maximum possible benefit from the PFI,' she said.
The schemes include the £1bn North Mersey Future Healthcare Project, which bundles together redevelopment at four trusts, and an £880m hospital reconfiguration in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.
David McVittie, chief executive of the Hillingdon Hospital Trust, which is planning a £271m PFI development, said: 'We now have a fantastic opportunity to make a place fit to provide twenty-first century health care.'
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis, said: 'The private sector is carving up this very lucrative PFI market, despite wide-ranging concerns that they are not good value for money.'