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GREEN LIGHT GIVEN FOR NEW o85M HOSPITAL IN GREENWICH

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The government has announced that a new 565 bed hospital in Greenwich, funded through the Private Finance Initiativ...
The government has announced that a new 565 bed hospital in Greenwich, funded through the Private Finance Initiative, has been given the go-ahead. Contracts will be agreed in time to allow building to start on the o85m hospital within 15 months.

This increases the number of new hospitals given the green light by the government to 15. All are expected to start being built by the end of 1998 at the latest.

The announcement follows the beginning of building work for the new o115m hospital at Dartford and Gravesham earlier this month, and news that contracts have been signed for the PFI scheme to build a new o87m hospital in Carlisle. It is expected that work will start on this development shortly.

Health secretary Frank Dobson said:

'The government's hospital building programme has got off to a flying start, just as we promised it would.

'The new Greenwich hospital will be placed at the heart of the local community, providing a wide range of high quality care to patients right on their doorstep. Delivering services on one site will also reduce the time spent by staff travelling between sites, allowing them to spend more time with patients.

'The signing of contracts for Carlisle is also very exciting news. This means that building should be underway very soon.

'New modern hospitals give patients the best in facilities and care, and give staff the best conditions to work in. We promised to modernise the NHS, and with 15 new hospitals in the pipeline, no one

can doubt that we are doing just that.'

Notes

1. The Greenwich hospital scheme developed by Greenwich Healthcare NHS Trust is valued at£85m. The scheme will develop the Queen Elizabeth Hospital site providing a new 565 bed hospital with A&E facilities, and including 77 beds for mental health patients.

2. The Greenwich PFI scheme was not included in the original£1.3bn hospital building programme for 14 new hospitals, announced in July, because of the Greenwich scheme's involvement in the Review of London Health Services. The independent review, chaired by Leslie Turnberg, has given early notice of its decision that Greenwich should be allowed to go ahead. Ministers have also satisfied themselves that the scheme meets the rigorous assessment criteria applied to the other 14 schemes.

3. The Carlisle hospital scheme developed by Carlisle Hospitals NHS Trust is valued at£87m. The scheme will provide a new 474 bed District General Hospital with Accident and Emergency facilities. The contract was signed on Friday 26 September.

4. The official ceremony for the start of building of the new£115m hospital at Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust took place on 23 September 1997.

5. Alan Milburn, minister of state for health, announced the£1.3bn hospital building programme on 3 July.

6. The London Review was announced by Frank Dobson, secretary of state for health, on 20 June.

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