Watchdog reveals PFI charges gap

Millions of pounds have been diverted from patient care, because contractors are charging over the odds for changes to private finance initiative (PFI) hospitals, according to new research.

A National Audit Office investigation found that more than £180 million of public money was spent on changing operational PFI projects in 2006. But this includes an estimated £6 million in management fees ‘not justified' in terms of the work needed.

The price charged for supplying a new key, for example, varied between £4.26 and £47.48.

Edward Leigh, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, said that the public sector had been ‘taken for a ride'. 

‘Public sector contract managers for PFI deals have insufficient commercial expertise to negotiate with and develop effective relationships with their private sector counterparts,' he added.

jonn.elledge@haymarket.com

National Audit Office

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