The NHS will pay a total of £1.26 billion for the privately-built Edinburgh Royal Infirmary—but not own it.
Other hospitals built under the costly and wasteful private finance initiative (PFI) deals cost a fortune and are paid back over decades, but will eventually be owned by the health service.
That will not be the case for this one. By 2028 NHS Lothian will have paid for the cost of building the hospital seven times over—but it will still remain the property of a private firm, Consort.
In 2028 the company could even decide to “evict” the NHS from the hospital if the health service, having already paid for the hospital, doesn’t stump up more cash.
Tory health secretary Andrew Lansley launched his white paper saying he was “looking forward to a world where the department of health does not own hospitals”.
It looks like that world is arriving fast.