Tories' pounds 30m NHS consultancy bill

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The Independent Online
The Conservatives put pounds 30m of National Health Service money into consultants' pockets, without getting a single hospital bed out of the deal, Alan Milburn, the Minister of Health, said yesterday. New legislation, the NHS (Private Finance) Bill, is to be given its second reading in the House of Lords tomorrow, removing obstacles to the completion of Private Finance Initiative schemes.

But Mr Milburn gave the legislation an additional push yesterday when he revealed that the last government had spent pounds 30m on PFI consultancy fees, without one major hospital contract being secured. He was particularly critical of the fact that NHS trusts were forced to spend precious resources on expensive external advice, which could have been provided centrally - and much more cheaply - by the Department of Health.

Mr Milburn said: "The Tories' mishandling of PFI in the National Health Service has cost a small fortune. Not one major hospital has been built through PFI, yet taxpayers have had to foot a vast consultancy bill. The Government is committed to making PFI work so that new hospitals get built. By cutting PFI red tape, we will get health service cash spent on patient services, not on exorbitant advisers' fees."

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