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Dobson defends use of the PFI for hospital building

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.319.7205.275 (Published 31 July 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:275
  1. Annabel Ferriman, parliamentary correspondent
  1. BMJ

    The health secretary, Frank Dobson, last week defended the use of private rather than public money to fund his department's hospital building programme on the grounds that it got hospitals built faster and allowed capital that would have been spent on hospitals to be spent on other projects, such as replacing old, outdated equipment.

    He maintained that if there were any difference in cost between building a hospital with money from the private finance initiative (PFI) and building one with Treasury money, it was marginal. He also claimed that the use of the PFI was not the reason why new hospitals were being built with fewer beds than before.

    Mr Dobson was being questioned by MPs from the health select committee about Department of Health expenditure. He said: “A lot of the talk about the private finance initiative gives the impression that the high cost of building a …

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