§ 99. Mr. Butler
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he has any plans for improving value for money in the hospital building programme.
§ Mr. Freeman
A number of initiatives aimed at improving the value for money of the hospital building programme are already in hand. These include a review of the procedures leading up to the approval of new building schemes, a review of the Department's procedural framework for processing building schemes in the NHS, and a review of project management. Each of these reviews will be reporting this year. The Department will continue to develop its building guidance, which has led to significant improvement in the value for money of new hospital building schemes.
The NHS reforms are expected to provide further incentives to improve the performance of the programme, and the future involvement of the Audit Commission in the NHS will bring the management of the estate, including the building programme, into sharper focus.