HC Deb 14 May 1996 vol 277 cc759-60
12. Mr. Pike

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS trust hospitals have now agreed major capital work schemes under the PFI. [27992]

Mr. Dorrell

Since the launch of the private finance initiative, 41 national health service trust schemes valued at £1 million or above have been approved, at a total capital value of £457 million. Contracts have been signed in 26 of those cases.

Mr. Pike

Does the Secretary of State acknowledge that many NHS trusts believe that PFI applications cause delay in schemes being approved and that at times, the detail of schemes must be changed to meet PFI priorities? Is that situation acceptable? Can the right hon. Gentleman confirm that the fourth phase at Burnley general hospital will now go ahead speedily?

Mr. Dorrell

I might have hoped that the hon. Gentleman would welcome that a decision was announced in his constituency in February to invest a further £8.9 million in Burnley general hospital. I did not hear a welcome for that development, which is part of the biggest-ever investment programme in the history of the national health service, coming from the hon. Gentleman's lips. The hon. Gentleman might have seen fit to welcome it. He says that the PFI is responsible for new delays in the NHS programme, but that is to turn history on its head. In reality, the history of NHS investment has been one of delays caused by the old system. The Government have emancipated the health service from those distortions.