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Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 16:36 GMT
Union criticises hospital plans
The John Radcliffe hospital
The plan is for a new wing to the John Radcliffe hospital
A health service union representative has criticised a plan to extend a hospital in Oxford, saying it could bankrupt the NHS trust.

The trust is in negotiations over a 125m Private Finance Initiative (PFI) project to build and manage a new wing of the John Radcliffe Hospital.

The new wing will replace facilities at the old Radcliffe Infirmary and includes a new children's hospital.

Andrew Smith MP
The actual evidence of PFI in operation is that it has a better record of bringing in projects on budget

Andrew Smith MP
The trust is already 17m in debt, and the local Unison chair, Mark Ladbrooke, says the extension plan could be "the straw that broke the camel's back".

He said: "The latest estimated cost of the building is 125m, but this is already expected to mean the trust forking out payments of around 600m over the 30-year contract.

"With the international money markets currently offering the government the chance to borrow at 2% interest or even less, this is a ridiculous way to finance the new hospital we need."

Good news

The Labour MP for Oxford East, Andrew Smith, disagreed, saying that the PFI project would save money in the long run.

"The actual evidence of PFI in operation is that it has a better record of bringing in projects on budget and to time than does conventional procurement.

"It is very good news we are getting this huge investment in improving the John Radcliffe hospital - that's something I'm sure that everyone in Oxford and the surrounding area will welcome," he said.


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16 Jan 03 | Education
21 Oct 02 | Health
17 Oct 02 | Business
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