Daily Telegraph, 10 Mar 2010
In the third of our series on the future of health care, Victoria Lambert look at the hospitals built under Tony Blair's Private Finance Initiative.
A soaring atrium, technicolor artwork and cappuccino dispensaries – who would have envisaged the day when no modern hospital felt complete without this therapeutic trinity?
Yet after just over a decade of works on a scale not seen before, which have led to the opening of 118 new hospital schemes (with another 18 in progress), the first thing most patients will think of when they talk of the modernisation of the NHS is surely the great glass lobbies that are now ubiquitous in our hospitals. If the Victorian philanthropists were addicted to statuary, their 21st-century equivalents are hooked on the smell of Windolene.
They’ll certainly be cleaning the windows as usual today at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, the first hospital completed under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) system, where the Government borrows money from the private sector to build public infrastructure in return for part-privatisation.