HC Deb 16 September 2003 vol 410 cc705-6
4. Mr. John Randall (Uxbridge)

What the latest estimate is of the costs of the Paddington Health Campus. [129951]

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Mr. John Hutton)

£800 million.

Mr. Randall

The Minister will be aware that three years ago the estimated cost was £360 million. Three years later, when we have still not even seen outlined planning permission, why have the costs spiralled out of control?

Mr. Hutton

Costs have risen because the new development at Paddington Health Campus will be bigger than the one originally proposed in 2000, so that we can provide more treatment for NHS patients in London—including in the hon. Gentleman's own constituency—better facilities and expanded research facilities. Most people in London will surely regard an £800 million investment in the NHS as good news.

Mr. John Wilkinson (Ruislip-Northwood)

Does the Minister realise that this is the most grotesque waste of public money, inasmuch as facilities of outstanding excellence exist at Harefield hospital, which the local community continues to support? As my hon. Friend the Member for South-West Hertfordshire (Mr. Page) knows, only yesterday the Moor Park Lions gave £37,000 of their own money to the Heart Science Foundation. It would cost only £18 million fully to modernise Harefield hospital; is that not what the people want and deserve?

Mr. Hutton

I genuinely understand the concern of the hon. Gentleman and of the hon. Member for South-West Hertfordshire (Mr. Page) about Harefield hospital; indeed, all hon. Members will have some sympathy with the points made. However, the Government have to decide what is best for the NHS across the capital as a whole, and I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the investment in the Paddington Health Campus will produce for the NHS in London some of the best facilities to be found anywhere in the world. That is money well spent.