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PFI hospitals “under resourced”

A third of contract managers at Public Financial Initiative (PFI) hospitals say their teams as “under resourced”, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has said in a report.

Taxpayers may be losing out, it says, as many public-sector authorities are “not doing a good job” of managing PFI contracts.

Many managers do not have enough commercial expertise, and more than 15% of the projects are not being managed on a full-time basis, according to the Making Changes in Operational PFI Projects report.

Under PFI, public bodies enter into long-term contracts with private firms to design, build and operate an asset such as a hospital. There are now more than 500 projects with a combined capital value of GBP57bn.

The chairman of the PAC, Tory MP Edward Leigh, said this was “particularly worrying” for taxpayers because changes were made to PFI services at a cost of GBP180m in 2006.

He said: “Whether a PFI contract constitutes good value for money for the taxpayer depends not only on the terms of the deal originally struck with the private sector, but also on how well that contract is subsequently managed by the public sector authorities over the next 25 to 30 years.”

Copyright PA Business 2008

Making Changes in Operational PFI Projects