Hospital PFI programme drops to four

The government’s hospital PFI programme has dwindled to four projects with just two of these likely to get approval before the end of next year, it can be revealed.

In a parliamentary statement on Thursday, health minister Mike O’Brien, said that there were just four projects likely to get off the ground over the next year.

Earlier this year, the health ministry revealed a list of eight projects worth around £1.5bn.

Of the four, North Bristol NHS Trust is the most advanced, he said. "North Bristol NHS Trust is expected to submit the final confirming business case (for final contract signature) for its £484 million scheme to the department [of health] and Treasury for approval in 2010."

He added that the Treasury and the health ministry would also announce a decision on Papworth’s £204m scheme "shortly".

However, O’Brien said he did not know when approvals would be given for the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust (£477m) and the Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust (£235m).

"It is too early to say when the department and subsequent Treasury approvals will be completed," he said. "There are no other health sector PFI projects that are in an advanced stage of development."