Reid gives 'green light' for £4bn PFI hospital deal

The 'green light' has been given for 15 new NHS hospital developments in a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deal worth more than £4 billion, it has been announced today.

Today's announcement will bring investment in new NHS hospitals to more than £16 billion since 1997, the health department said.

Health Secretary John Reid said that with today's announcement the NHS was well on course to meet the NHS Plan target of 100 new hospital schemes open to patients by 2010. More than 40 are already built and operational.

The new hospital developments will be funded "largely" through PFI, and it will now be for local health organisations to progress these schemes to the next stages of development.

The new developments include plans for: new mental health facilities for Leicestershire, Merseyside, and Teesside; a new cardiac research institute and upgraded cardiac wing for Great Ormond Street Hospital; and modern new buildings for Papworth Hospital's cardiothoracic services.

Mr Reid said: "The NHS is in the middle of the biggest hospital building programme in its history. After years of under-investment, the infrastructure of the NHS is at last being modernised and made fit for the 21st Century.

"The new hospital plans given the green light today represent the type of bright, modern, clean environments that all NHS patients should experience during their treatment. I look forward to seeing further progress on these schemes, and all of the other hospital building projects that are underway, and particularly to seeing the benefits they will bring to their local communities.

"I am delighted to receive such good quality proposals and I will be encouraging local health organisations to progress these rapidly through the next important stages of their development."

The 15 new hospital developments will take place in areas such as: Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire (£880 million); North Bristol and South Gloucestershire (£310 million); Papworth Hospital NHS Trust (£148 million); and Sandwell and West Birmingham Acute Trust (£591 million).

Each of the above schemes submitted detailed proposals to the Department of Health in April. These were reviewed by both Strategic Health Authorities and the Department of Health before being given clearance to proceed by Ministers


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