HC Deb 04 December 1995 vol 268 cc43-4W
Mr. Morgan

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proposals he has(a) to place in the Library or (b) to place in the nearest public libraries to the development affected, the principal components of the agreements signed between NHS provider units and private sector facilities management and design and build consortia under the private finance initiative. [3733]

Mr. Horam

The private finance initiative will further develop our excellent record of co-operation with the private sector and ensure new national health service capital schemes are provided promptly and run efficiently, for the benefit of all NHS patients. Before any PFI scheme with significant expenditure consequences for the NHS is approved, a business case is produced to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of the proposal and assess the public spending implications. Approval to PFI schemes is only given only if the business case demonstrates that a PFI approach increases the cost-effectiveness of the scheme for the NHS and if any expenditure implications are affordable to NHS purchasers. NHS trusts and health authorities are accountable to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health, who is accountable to Parliament. He is supported by an accounting officer who has to answer to the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Commons. The Audit Commission, which we invited into the NHS in 1990, carries out independent financial audits in every NHS trust and health authority and it sends to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State any report that is causing it particular concern. Since we are satisfied that all of this process protects the interests of the NHS and patients and taxpayers, I do not propose to place the commercial contracts in Libraries.